50 Best Evolutionary Psychology Research Topics

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Best Evolutionary Psychology Research Topics

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  • Evolutionary psychology perspective: Why do people cry?
  • Evolutionary psychology perspective on hebephilia
  • Evolutionary psychology perspective on shyness and introversion
  • Evolutionary psychology: Controversies, prospects, and limitations
  • Application of evolutionary psychology in marketing
  • Correlation between evolutionary psychology and gender roles
  • An evolutionary perspective on generational culture
  • Evolutionary psychology perspective on child development
  • Evolutionary psychology perspective on human social strategies
  • Correlation between aesthetics and evolutionary psychology

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  • Charles Darwin’s perspective on evolutionary psychology
  • Evolutionary psychology and animal behavior
  • Evolutionary psychology and mental health
  • The evolutionary psychology of women
  • Evolutionary psychology perspective on cognition and motivation
  • Evolutionary psychology perspective on religion
  • History, current status, and future of evolutionary psychology
  • Integration of evolutionary psychology in the study of intelligence
  • Is evolutionary psychology possible?
  • The evolutionary psychology of eating habits and food choice

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  • Psychological impacts of food inequality
  • The evolutionary psychology of romantic relationships
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  • The evolutionary psychology perspective on hunger
  • The future of evolutionary psychology on human partnerships
  • Evolutionary psychology perspective on human behavior: Consumer brand choice selection
  • Understanding eating disorders through the evolutionary psychology lens
  • Evolutionary psychology model of understanding terrorism
  • Evolutionary psychology perspective on social media: Psychology of terrorism

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  • Behavioral immune system: History, current concerns, and future
  • Evolutionary psychology modern criticism
  • Evolutionary psychology perspective on adaptations to predators and prey
  • Evolutionary psychology perspective on psychopathy
  • Evolutionary psychology: A quest to understanding human nature
  • Evolutionary psychology: Adaptations to dangers from human
  • Evolutionary psychology: The origin of the phobia
  • How culture and childhood environment creates an unpredictable adulthood personality
  • How does the behavioral immune system impact responses to COVID-19 threats?
  • Implications of evolutionary psychology for behavior therapy

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  • Ethics of evolutionary psychology
  • Evolutionary perspective: Evolution of narcissism
  • Evolutionary psychology perspective of modern politics
  • Evolutionary psychology perspective on feminism
  • Evolutionary psychology perspective on modern criminal justice
  • Relationship between evolutionary psychology and forensic psychology
  • The evolutionary psychology of mate selection in your country
  • The evolutionary psychology perspective on personality disorders
  • The evolutionary psychology perspective on social development
  • Young adults and crime and evolutionary approach

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Evolutionary Psychology

Evolutionary psychology is one of many biologically informed approaches to the study of human behavior. Along with cognitive psychologists, evolutionary psychologists propose that much, if not all, of our behavior can be explained by appeal to internal psychological mechanisms. What distinguishes evolutionary psychologists from many cognitive psychologists is the proposal that the relevant internal mechanisms are adaptations—products of natural selection—that helped our ancestors get around the world, survive and reproduce. To understand the central claims of evolutionary psychology we require an understanding of some key concepts in evolutionary biology, cognitive psychology, philosophy of science and philosophy of mind. Philosophers are interested in evolutionary psychology for a number of reasons. For philosophers of science —mostly philosophers of biology—evolutionary psychology provides a critical target. Although here is a broad consensus among philosophers of biology that evolutionary psychology is a deeply flawed enterprise, this does not entail that these philosophers completely reject the relevance of evolutionary theory to human psychology. For philosophers of mind and cognitive science evolutionary psychology has been a source of empirical hypotheses about cognitive architecture and specific components of that architecture. However, some philosophers of mind are also critical of evolutionary psychology but their criticisms are not as all-encompassing as those presented by philosophers of biology. Evolutionary psychology is also invoked by philosophers interested in moral psychology both as a source of empirical hypotheses and as a critical target.

In what follows I briefly explain evolutionary psychology’s relations to other work on the biology of human behavior and the cognitive sciences. Next I introduce the research tradition’s key theoretical concepts. In the following section I take up discussions about evolutionary psychology in the philosophy of mind, specifically focusing on the debate about the massive modularity thesis. I go on to review some of the criticisms of evolutionary psychology presented by philosophers of biology and assess some responses to those criticisms. I then go on to introduce some of evolutionary psychology’s contributions to moral psychology and human nature and, finally, briefly discuss the reach and impact of evolutionary psychology.

1. Evolutionary Psychology: One research tradition among the various biological approaches to explaining human behavior

2. evolutionary psychology’s theory and methods, 3. the massive modularity hypothesis, 4. philosophy of biology vs. evolutionary psychology, 5. moral psychology and evolutionary psychology, 6. human nature, 7. applications of evolutionary psychology and prospects for further debate, other internet resources, related entries.

This entry focuses on the specific approach to evolutionary psychology that is conventionally named by the capitalized phrase “Evolutionary Psychology”. This naming convention is David Buller’s (2000; 2005) idea. He introduces the convention to distinguish a particular research tradition (Laudan 1977) from other approaches to the biology of human behavior. [ 1 ] This research tradition is the focus here but lower case is used throughout as no other types of evolutionary psychology are discussed. Evolutionary psychology rests upon specific theoretical principles (presented in section 2 below) not all of which are shared by others working in the biology of human behavior (Laland & Brown 2002; Brown et al. 2011). For example, human behavioral ecologists present and defend explanatory hypotheses about human behavior that do not appeal to psychological mechanisms (e.g., Hawkes 1990; Hrdy 1999). Behavioral ecologists also believe that much of human behavior can be explained by appealing to evolution while rejecting the idea held by evolutionary psychologists that one period of our evolutionary history is the source of all our important psychological adaptations (Irons 1998). Developmental psychobiologists take yet another approach: they are anti-adaptationist. (Michel & Moore 1995; but see Bateson & Martin 1999; Bjorklund & Hernandez Blasi 2005 for examples of developmentalist work in an adaptationist vein.) These theorists believe that much of our behavior can be explained without appealing to a suite of specific psychological adaptations for that behavior. Instead they emphasize the role of development in the production of various human behavioral traits. From here on, “evolutionary psychology” refers to a specific research tradition among the many biological approaches to the study of human behavior.

Paul Griffiths argues that evolutionary psychology owes theoretical debt to both sociobiology and ethology (Griffiths 2006; Griffiths 2008). Evolutionary psychologists acknowledge their debt to sociobiology but point out that they add a dimension to sociobiology: psychological mechanisms. Human behaviors are not a direct product of natural selection but rather the product of psychological mechanisms that were selected for. The relation to ethology here is that in the nineteen fifties, ethologists proposed instincts or drives that underlie our behavior; [ 2 ] evolutionary psychology’s psychological mechanisms are the correlates to instincts or drives. Evolutionary psychology is also related to cognitive psychology and the cognitive sciences. The psychological mechanisms they invoke are computational, sometimes referred to as “Darwinian algorithms” or as “computational modules”. This overt cognitivism sets evolutionary psychology apart from much work in the neurosciences and from behavioral neuroendocrinology. In these fields internal mechanisms are proposed in explanations of human behavior but they are not construed in computational terms. David Marr’s (e.g., 1983) well known three part distinction is often invoked to distinguish the levels at which researchers focus their attention in the cognitive and neurosciences. Many neuroscientists and behavioral neuroendocrinologists work at the implementation level while cognitive psychologists work at the level of the computations that are implemented at the neurobiological level (see Griffiths 2006).

Evolutionary psychologists sometimes present their approach as potentially unifying, or providing a foundation for, all other work that purports to explain human behavior (e.g., Tooby & Cosmides 1992). This claim has been met with strong skepticism by many social scientists who see a role for a myriad of types of explanation of human behavior, some of which are not reducible to biological explanations of any sort. This discussion hangs on issues of reductionism in the social sciences. (Little 1991 has a nice introduction to these issues.) There are also reasons to believe that evolutionary psychology neither unifies nor provides foundations for closely neighboring fields such as behavioral ecology or developmental psychobiology. (See the related discussion in Downes 2005.) In other work, evolutionary psychologists present their approach as being consistent with or compatible with neighboring approaches such as behavioral ecology and developmental psychobiology. (See Buss’s introduction to Buss 2005.) The truth of this claim hangs on a careful examination of the theoretical tenets of evolutionary psychology and its neighboring fields. We now turn to evolutionary psychology’s theoretical tenets and revisit this discussion in section 4 below.

Influential evolutionary psychologists, Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, provide the following list of the field’s theoretical tenets (Tooby & Cosmides 2005):

  • The brain is a computer designed by natural selection to extract information from the environment.
  • Individual human behavior is generated by this evolved computer in response to information it extracts from the environment. Understanding behavior requires articulating the cognitive programs that generate the behavior.
  • The cognitive programs of the human brain are adaptations. They exist because they produced behavior in our ancestors that enabled them to survive and reproduce.
  • The cognitive programs of the human brain may not be adaptive now; they were adaptive in ancestral environments.
  • Natural selection ensures that the brain is composed of many different special purpose programs and not a domain general architecture.
  • Describing the evolved computational architecture of our brains “allows a systematic understanding of cultural and social phenomena” (16–18).

Tenet 1 emphasizes the cognitivism that evolutionary psychologists are committed to. 1 in combination with 2 directs our attention as researchers not to parts of the brain but to the programs run by the brain. It is these programs—psychological mechanisms—that are products of natural selection. While they are products of natural selection, and hence adaptations, these programs need not be currently adaptive. Our behavior can be produced by underlying psychological mechanisms that arose to respond to particular circumstances in our ancestors’ environments. Tenet 5 presents what is often called the “massive modularity thesis” (see, e.g., Samuels 1998; Samuels 2000). There is a lot packed into this tenet and we will examine this thesis in some detail below in section 3. In brief, evolutionary psychologists maintain that there is an analogy between organs and psychological mechanisms or modules. Organs perform specific functions well and are products of natural selection. There are no general purpose organs, hearts pump blood and livers detoxify the body. The same goes for psychological mechanisms; they arise as responses to specific contingencies in the environment and are selected for to the extent that they contribute to the survival and reproduction of the organism. Just as there are no general purpose organs, there are no general purpose psychological mechanisms. Finally, tenet 6 introduces the reductionist or foundational vision of evolutionary psychology, discussed above.

There are numerous examples of the kinds of mechanisms that are hypothesized to underlie our behavior on the basis of research guided by these theoretical tenets: the cheater-detection module; the mind-reading module; the waist/hip ratio detection module; the snake fear module and so on. A closer look at the waist/hip ratio detection module illustrates the above theoretical tenets at work. Devendra Singh (Singh 1993; Singh & Luis 1995) presents the waist/hip ratio detection module as one of the suite of modules that underlies mate selection in humans. This one is a specifically male psychological mechanism. Men detect variations in waist/hip ratio in women. Men’s preferences are for women with waist/hip ratios closer to .7. Singh claims that the detection and preference suite are adaptations for choosing fertile mates. So our mate selection behavior is explained in part by the underlying psychological mechanism for waist/hip ratio preference that was selected for in earlier human environments.

What is important to note about the research guided by these theoretical tenets above is that all behavior is best explained in terms of underlying psychological mechanisms that are adaptations for solving a particular set of problems that humans faced at one time in our ancestry. Also, evolutionary psychologists stress that the mechanisms they focus on are universally distributed in humans and are not susceptible to much, if any, variation. They maintain that the mechanisms are a product of adaptation but are no longer under selection (Tooby & Cosmides 2005, 39–40). Clark Barrett’s (2015) accessible and wide ranging introduction to evolutionary psychology sustains this emphasis on evolved mechanisms as the main focus of evolutionary psychology research. Barrett also expands the scope of evolutionary psychology and notes the addition of research methods developed since Cosmides and Tooby first set out the parameters for research in the field. Some of Barrett’s proposals are discussed in sections 6 and 7 below. Todd Shackleford and Viviana Weekes-Shackleford (2017) have just completed a huge compendium of work in the evolutionarily based psychological sciences. In this volume a vast array of different research methods are presented and defended and there are a number of entries comparing the merits of alternative approaches to evolutionary psychology.

The methods for testing hypotheses in evolutionary psychology come mostly from psychology. For example, in Singh’s work, male subjects are presented with drawings of women with varying waist hip ratios and ask to give their preference rankings. In Buss’s work supporting several hypothesized mate selection mechanisms, he performed similar experiments on subjects, asking for their responses to various questions about features of desired mates (Buss 1990). Buss, Singh and other evolutionary psychologists emphasize the cross cultural validity of their results, claiming consistency in responses across a wide variety of human populations. (But see Yu & Shepard 1998; Gray et al. 2003 for alternate conflicting results to Singh’s.) For the most part standard psychological experimental methods are used to test hypotheses in evolutionary psychology. This has raised questions about the extent to which the evolutionary component of evolutionary psychologists’ hypotheses is being tested (see, e.g., Shapiro & Epstein 1998; Lloyd 1999; Lloyd & Feldman 2002). A response profile may be prevalent in a wide variety of subject populations but this says nothing about whether or not the response profile is a psychological mechanism that arose from a particular selective regimen.

Claims that the mind has a modular architecture, and even massively modular architecture, are widespread in cognitive science (see, e.g., Hirshfield & Gelman 1994). The massive modularity thesis is first and foremost a thesis about cognitive architecture. As defended by evolutionary psychologists, the thesis is also about the source of our cognitive architecture: the massively modular architecture is the result of natural selection acting to produce each of the many modules (see, e.g., Barrett & Kurzban 2006; Barrett 2012). Our cognitive architecture is composed of computational devices, that are innate and are adaptations (Samuels 1998; Samuels et al. 1999a; Samuels et al. 1999b; Samuels 2000). This massively modular architecture accounts for all of our sophisticated behavior. Our successful navigation of the world results from the action of one or more of our many modules.

Jerry Fodor was the first to mount a sustained philosophical defense of modularity as a theory of cognitive architecture (Fodor 1983). His modularity thesis is distinct from the massive modularity thesis in a number of important ways. Fodor argued that our “input systems” are modular—for example, components of our visual system, our speech detection system and so on—these parts of our mind are dedicated information processors, whose internal make-up is inaccessible to other related processors. The modular detection systems feed output to a central system, which is a kind of inference engine. The central system, on Fodor’s view is not modular. Fodor presents a large number of arguments against the possibility of modular central systems. For example, he argues that central systems, to the extent that they engage in something like scientific confirmation, are “Quinean” in that “the degree of confirmation assigned to any given hypothesis is sensitive to properties of the entire belief system” (Fodor 1983, 107). Fodor draws a bleak conclusion about the status of cognitive science from his examination of the character of central systems: cognitive science is impossible. So on Fodor’s view, the mind is partly modular and the part of the mind that is modular provides some subject matter for cognitive science.

A distinct thesis from Fodor’s, the massive modularity thesis, gets a sustained philosophical defense from Peter Carruthers (see especially Carruthers 2006). Carruthers is well aware that Fodor (see e.g. Fodor 2000) does not believe that central systems can be modular but he presents arguments from evolutionary psychologists and others that support the modularity thesis for the whole mind. Perhaps one of the reasons that there is so much philosophical interest in evolutionary psychology is that discussions about the status of the massive modularity thesis are highly theoretical. [ 3 ] Both evolutionary psychologists and philosophers present and consider arguments for and against the thesis rather than simply waiting until the empirical results come in. Richard Samuels (1998) speculates that argument rather than empirical data is relied on, because the various competing modularity theses about central systems are hard to pull apart empirically. Carruthers exemplifies this approach as he relies heavily on arguments for massive modularity often at the expense of specific empirical results that tell in favor of the thesis.

There are many arguments for the massive modularity thesis. Some are based upon considerations about how evolution must have acted; some are based on considerations about the nature of computation and some are versions of the poverty of the stimulus argument first presented by Chomsky in support of the existence of an innate universal grammar. (See Cowie 1999 for a nice presentation of the structure of poverty of the stimulus arguments.) Myriad versions of each of these arguments appear in the literature and many arguments for massive modularity mix and match components of each of the main strands of argumentation. Here we review a version of each type of argument.

Carruthers presents a clear outline of the first type of argument “the biological argument for massive modularity”: “(1) Biological systems are designed systems, constructed incrementally. (2) Such systems, when complex, need to have massively modular organization. (3) The human mind is a biological system and is complex. (4) So the human mind will be massively modularly in its organization” (Carruthers 2006, 25). An example of this argument is to appeal to the functional decomposition of organisms into organs “designed” for specific tasks, e.g. hearts, livers, kidneys. Each of these organs arises as a result of natural selection and the organs, acting together, contribute to the fitness of the organism. The functional decomposition is driven by the response to specific environmental stimuli. Rather than natural selection acting to produce general purpose organs, each specific environmental challenge is dealt with by a separate mechanism. All versions of this argument are arguments from analogy, relying on the key transitional premise that minds are a kind of biological system upon which natural selection acts.

The second type of argument makes no appeal to biological considerations whatsoever (although many evolutionary psychologists give these arguments a biological twist). Call this the computational argument, which unfolds as follows: minds are computational problem solving devices; there are specific types of solutions to specific types of problems; and so for minds to be (successful) general problem solving devices, they must consist of collections of specific problem solving devices, i.e. many computational modules. This type of argument is structurally similar to the biological argument (as Carruthers points out). The key idea is that there is no sense to the idea of a general problem solver and that no headway can be made in cognitive science without breaking down problems into their component parts.

The third type of argument involves a generalization of Chomsky’s poverty of the stimulus argument for universal grammar. Many evolutionary psychologists (see, e.g., Tooby & Cosmides 1992) appeal to the idea that there is neither enough time, nor enough available information, for any given human to learn from scratch to successfully solve all of the problems that we face in the world. This first consideration supports the conclusion that the underlying mechanisms we use to solve the relevant problems are innate (for evolutionary psychologists “innate” is usually interchangeable with “product of natural selection” [ 4 ] ). If we invoke this argument across the whole range of problem sets that humans face and solve, we arrive at a huge set of innate mechanisms that subserve our problem solving abilities, which is another way of saying that we have a massively modular mind.

There are numerous responses to the many versions of each of these types of arguments and many take on the massive modularity thesis head on without considering a specific argument for it. I will defer consideration of responses to the first argument type until section 4 below, which focuses on issues of the nature of evolution and natural selection – topics in philosophy of biology.

The second type of argument is one side of a perennial debate in the philosophy of cognitive science. Fodor (2000, 68) takes this argument to rest on the unwarranted assumption that there is no domain-independent criterion of cognitive success, which he thinks requires an argument that evolutionary psychologists do not provide. Samuels (see esp. Samuels 1998) responds to evolutionary psychologists that arguments of this type do not sufficiently discriminate between a conclusion about domain specific processing mechanisms and domain specific knowledge or information. Samuels articulates what he calls the “library model of cognition” in which there is domain specific information or knowledge but domain general processing. The library model of cognition is not massively modular in the relevant sense but type two arguments support it. According to Samuels, evolutionary psychologists need something more than this type of argument to warrant their specific kind of conclusion about massive modularity. Buller (2005) introduces further worries for this type of argument by tackling the assumption that there can be no such thing as a domain general problem solving mechanism. Buller worries that in their attempt to support this claim, evolutionary psychologists fail to adequately characterize a domain general problem solver. For example, they fail to distinguish between a domain general problem solver and a domain specific problem solver that is over generalized. He offers the example of social learning as a domain general mechanism that would produce domain specific solutions to problems. He uses a nice biological analogy to drive this point home: the immune system is a domain general system in that it allows the body to respond to a wide variety of pathogens. While it is true that the immune system produces domain specific responses to pathogens in the form of specific antibodies, the antibodies are produced by one domain general system. These and many other respondents conclude that type two arguments do not adequately support the massive modularity thesis.

Fodor (2000) and Kim Sterelny (2003) provide different responses to type three arguments. Fodor’s response is that poverty of the stimulus type arguments support conclusions about innateness but not modularity and so these arguments can not be used to support the massive modularity thesis. He argues that the domain specificity and encapsulation of a mechanism and its innateness pull apart quite clearly, allowing for “perfectly general learning mechanisms” that are innate and “fully encapsulated mechanisms” that are single stimulus specific and everything in between. Sterelny responds to the generalizing move in type three arguments. He takes language to be the exception rather than the rule in the sense that while the postulation of an innate, domain specific module may be warranted to account for our language abilities, much of our other problem solving behavior can be accounted for without postulating such modules (Sterelny 2003, 200). [ 5 ] Sterelny’s counter requires invoking alternate explanations for our behavioral repertoire. For example, he accounts for folk psychology and folk biology by appealing to environmental factors, some of which are constructed by our forebears, that allow us to perform sophisticated cognitive tasks. If we can account for our success at various complex problem solving tasks, without appealing to modules, then the massive modularity thesis is undercut. Sterelny sharpens his response to massive modularity by adding more detail to his accounts of how many of our uniquely human traits may have evolved (see, e.g., Sterelny 2012). Sterelny introduces his “evolved apprentice” model to account for the evolution of many human traits that many assume require explanation in terms of massive modularity, for example, forming moral judgments. Cecilia Heyes adopts a similar approach to Sterenly in attacking massive modularity. Rather than presenting arguments against massive modularity, she offers alternative explanations of the development of folk psychology that do not rely on the massive modularity thesis (Heyes 2014a; Heyes 2014b).

Heyes and Sterelny not only reject massive modularity but also have little expectation that any modularity theses will bear fruit but there are many critics of the massive modularity thesis who allow for the possibility of some modularity of mind. Such critics of evolutionary psychology do not reject the possibility of any kind of modularity, they just reject the massive modularity thesis. There is considerable debate about the status of the massive modularity thesis and some of this debate centers around the characterization of modules. If modules have all the characteristics that Fodor (1983) first presented, then he may be right that central systems are not modular. Both Carruthers (2006) and Barrett and Kurzban (2006) present modified characterizations of modules, which they argue better serve the massive modularity thesis. There is no agreement on a workable characterization of modules for evolutionary psychology but there is agreement on the somewhat benign thesis that “the language of modularity affords useful conceptual groundwork in which productive debates surrounding cognitive systems can be framed” (Barrett and Kurzban 2006, 644).

Many philosophers have criticized evolutionary psychology. Most of these critics are philosophers of biology who argue that the research tradition suffers from an overly zealous form of adaptationism (Griffiths 1996; Richardson 1996; Grantham & Nichols 1999; Lloyd 1999; Richardson 2007), an untenable reductionism (Dupré 1999, 2001), a “bad empirical bet” about modules (Sterelny 1995; Sterelny & Griffiths 1999; Sterelny 2003), a fast and loose conception of fitness (Lloyd 1999; Lloyd & Feldman 2002); and most of the above and much more (Buller 2005). (See also Downes 2005.) [ 6 ] All of these philosophers share one version or other of Buller’s view: “I am unabashedly enthusiastic about efforts to apply evolutionary theory to human psychology” (2005, x). [ 7 ] But if philosophers of biology are not skeptical of the fundamental idea behind the project, as Buller’s quote indicates, what are they so critical of? What is at stake are differing views about how to best characterize evolution and hence how to generate evolutionary hypotheses and how to test evolutionary hypotheses. For evolutionary psychologists, the most interesting contribution that evolutionary theory makes is the explanation of apparent design in nature or the explanation of the production of complex organs by appeal to natural selection. Evolutionary psychologists generate evolutionary hypotheses by first finding apparent design in the world, say in our psychological make up, and then presenting a selective scenario that would have led to the production of the trait that exhibits apparent design. The hypotheses evolutionary psychologists generate, given that they are usually hypotheses about our psychological capacities, are tested by standard psychological methods. Philosophers of biology challenge evolutionary psychologists on both of these points. I introduce a few examples of criticisms in each of these two areas below and then look at some responses to philosophical criticisms of evolutionary psychology.

Adaptation is the one biological concept that is central to most debates over evolutionary psychology. Every theoretical work on evolutionary psychology presents the research tradition as being primarily focused on psychological adaptations and goes on to give an account of what adaptations are (see, e.g., Tooby & Cosmides 1992; Buss et al. 1998; Simpson & Campbell 2005; Tooby & Cosmides 2005). Much of the philosophical criticism of evolutionary psychology addresses its approach to adaptation or its form of adaptationism. Let us quickly review the basics from the perspective of philosophy of biology.

Here is how Elliott Sober defines an adaptation: “characteristic c is an adaptation for doing task t in a population if and only if members of the population now have c because, ancestrally, there was selection for having c and c conferred a fitness advantage because it performed task t ” (Sober 2000, 85). Sober makes a few further clarifications of the notion of adaptation that are helpful. First, we should distinguish between a trait that is adaptive and a trait that is an adaptation . Any number of traits can be adaptive without those traits being adaptations. A sea turtle’s forelegs are useful for digging in the sand to bury eggs but they are not adaptations for nest building (Sober 2000, 85). Also, traits can be adaptations without being currently adaptive for a given organism. Vestigial organs such as our appendix or vestigial eyes in cave dwelling organisms are examples of such traits (Sterelny and Griffiths 1999). Second, we should distinguish between ontogenic and phylogenetic adaptations (Sober 2000, 86). The adaptations of interest to evolutionary biologists are phylogenetic adaptations, which arise over evolutionary time and impact the fitness of the organism. Ontogenetic adaptations, including any behavior we learn in our lifetimes, can be adaptive to the extent that an organism benefits from them but they are not adaptations in the relevant sense. Finally, adaptation and function are closely related terms. On one of the prominent views of function—the etiological view of functions—adaptation and function are more or less coextensive; to ask for the function of an organ is to ask why it is present. On the Cummins view of functions adaptation and function are not coextensive, as on the Cummins view, to ask what an organ’s function is, is to ask what it does (Sober 2000, 86–87). (See also Sterelny & Griffiths 1999, 220–224.)

Evolutionary psychologists focus on psychological adaptations. One consistent theme in the theoretical work of evolutionary psychologists is that “adaptations, the functional components of organisms, are identified […] by […] evidence of their design: the exquisite match between organism structure and environment” (Hagen 2005, 148). The way in which psychological adaptations are identified is by evolutionary functional analysis, which is a type of reverse engineering. [ 8 ] “Reverse engineering is a process of figuring out the design of a mechanism on the basis of an analysis of the tasks it performs. Evolutionary functional analysis is a form of reverse engineering in that it attempts to reconstruct the mind’s design from an analysis of the problems the mind must have evolved to solve” (Buller 2005, 92). Many philosophers object to evolutionary psychologists’ over attribution of adaptations on the basis of apparent design. Here some are following Gould and Lewontin’s (1979) lead when they worry that accounting for apparent design in nature in terms of adaptation amounts to telling just-so stories but they could just as easily cite Williams (1966), who also cautioned against the over attribution of adaptation as an explanation for biological traits. While it is true that evolutionary functional analysis can lend itself to just-so story telling, this is not the most interesting problem that confronts evolutionary psychology, several other interesting problems have been identified. For example, Elisabeth Lloyd (1999) derives a criticism of evolutionary psychology from Gould and Lewontin’s criticism of sociobiology, emphasizing the point that evolutionary psychologists’ adaptationism leads them to ignore alternative evolutionary processes. Buller takes yet another approach to evolutionary psychologists’ adaptationism. What lies behind Buller’s criticisms of evolutionary psychologists’ adaptationism is a different view than theirs about what is important in evolutionary thinking (Buller 2005). Buller thinks that evolutionary psychologists overemphasize design and that they make the contentious assumption that with respect to the traits they are interested in, evolution is finished, rather than ongoing.

Sober’s definition of adaptation is not constrained only to apply to organs or other traits that exhibit apparent design. Rather, clutch size (in birds), schooling (in fish), leaf arrangement, foraging strategies and all manner of traits can be adaptations (Seger & Stubblefield 1996). Buller argues the more general point that phenotypic plasticity of various types can be an adaptation, because it arises in various organisms as a result of natural selection. [ 9 ] The difference here between Buller (and other philosophers and biologists) and evolutionary psychologists is a difference in the explanatory scope that they attribute to natural selection. For evolutionary psychologists, the hallmark of natural selection is a well functioning organ and for their critics, the results of natural selection can be seen in an enormous range of traits ranging from the specific apparent design features of organs to the most general response profiles in behavior. According to Buller, this latter approach opens up the range of possible evolutionary hypotheses that can account for human behavior. Rather than being restricted to accounting for our behavior in terms of the joint output of many specific modular mechanisms, we can account for our behavior by appealing to selection acting upon many different levels of traits. This difference in emphasis on what is important in evolutionary theory also is at the center of debates between evolutionary psychologists and behavioral ecologists, who argue that behaviors, rather than just the mechanisms that underlie them, can be adaptations (Downes 2001). Further, this difference in emphasis is what leads to the wide range of alternate evolutionary hypotheses that Sterelny (Sterelny 2003) presents to explain human behavior. Given that philosophers like Buller and Sterelny are adaptationists, they are not critical of evolutionary psychologists’ adaptationism. Rather, they are critical of the narrow explanatory scope of the type of adaptationism evolutionary psychologists adopt (see also Downes 2015).

Buller’s criticism that evolutionary psychologists assume that evolution is finished for the traits that they are interested in connects worries about the understanding of evolutionary theory with worries about the testing of evolutionary hypotheses. Here is Tooby & Cosmides’ clear statement of the assumption that Buller is worried about: “evolutionary psychologists primarily explore the design of the universal, evolved psychological and neural architecture that we all share by virtue of being human. Evolutionary psychologists are usually less interested in human characteristics that vary due to genetic differences because they recognize that these differences are unlikely to be evolved adaptations central to human nature. Of the three kinds of characteristics that are found in the design of organisms – adaptations, by-products, and noise – traits caused by genetic variants are predominantly evolutionary noise, with little adaptive significance, while complex adaptations are likely to be universal in the species” (Tooby & Cosmides 2005, 39). This line of thinking also captures evolutionary psychologists’ view of human nature: human nature is our collection of universally shared adaptations. (See Downes & Machery 2013 for more discussion of this and other, contrasting biologically based accounts of human nature.) The problem here is that it is false to assume that adaptations cannot be subject to variation. The underlying problem is the constrained notion of adaptation. Adaptations are traits that arise as a result of natural selection and not traits that exhibit design and are universal in a given species (Seger & Stubblefield 1996). As a result, it is quite consistent to argue, as Buller does, that many human traits may still be under selection and yet reasonably be called adaptations. Finally, philosophers of biology have articulated several different types of adaptationism (see, e.g., Godfrey-Smith 2001; Lewens 2009; Sober 2000). While some of these types of adaptationism can be reasonably seen placing constraints on how evolutionary research is carried out, Godfrey-Smith’s “explanatory adaptationism” is different in character (Godfrey-Smith 2001). Explanatory adaptationism is the view that apparent design is one of the big questions we face in explaining our natural world and natural selection is the big (and only supportable) answer to such a big question. Explanatory adaptationism is often adopted by those who want to distinguish evolutionary thinking from creationism or intelligent design and is the way evolutionary psychologists often couch their work to distinguish it from their colleagues in the broader social sciences. While explanatory adaptationism does serve to distinguish evolutionary psychology from such markedly different approaches to accounting for design in nature, it does not place many clear constraints on the way in which evolutionary explanations should be sought (Downes 2015). So far these are disagreements that are located in differing views about the nature and scope of evolutionary explanation but they have ramifications in the discussion about hypothesis testing.

If the traits of interest to evolutionary psychologists are universally distributed, then we should expect to find them in all humans. This partly explains the stock that evolutionary psychologists put in cross cultural psychological tests (see, e.g., Buss 1990). If we find evidence for the trait in a huge cross section of humans, then this supports our view that the trait is an adaptation —on the assumption that adaptations are organ-like traits that are products of natural selection but not subject to variation. But given the wider scope view of evolution defended by philosophers of biology, this method of testing seems wrong-headed as a test of an evolutionary hypothesis. Certainly such testing can result in the very interesting results that certain preference profiles are widely shared cross culturally but the test does not speak to the evolutionary hypothesis that the preferences are adaptations (Lloyd 1999; Buller 2005).

Another worry that critics have about evolutionary psychologists’ approach to hypothesis testing is that they give insufficient weight to serious alternate hypotheses that fit the relevant data. Buller dedicates several chapters of his book on evolutionary psychology to an examination of hypothesis testing and many of his criticisms center around the introduction of alternate hypotheses that do as good a job, or a better job, of accounting for the data. For example, he argues that the hypothesis of assortative mating by status does a better job of accounting for some of evolutionary psychologists’ mate selection data than their preferred high status preference hypothesis. This debate hangs on how the empirical tests come out. The previous debate is more closely connected to theoretical issues in philosophy of biology.

I said in my introduction that there is a broad consensus among philosophers of science that evolutionary psychology is a deeply flawed enterprise and some philosophers of biology continue to remind us of this sentiment (see, e.g., Dupré 2012). However the relevant consensus is not complete, there are some proponents of evolutionary psychology among philosophers of science. One way of defending evolutionary psychology is to rebut criticism. Edouard Machery and Clark Barrett (2007) do just that in their sharply critical review of Buller’s book. Another way to defend evolutionary psychology is to practice it (at least to the extent that philosophers can, i.e. theoretically). This is what Robert Arp (2006) does in a recent article. I briefly review both responses below.

Machery and Barrett (2007) argue that Buller has no clear critical target as there is nothing to the idea that there is a research tradition of evolutionary psychology that is distinct from the broader enterprise of the evolutionary understanding of human behavior. They argue that theoretical tenets and methods are shared by many in the biology of human behavior. For example, many are adaptationists. But as we saw above, evolutionary psychologists and behavioral ecologists can both call themselves adaptationist but their particular approach to adaptationism dictates the range of hypotheses that they can generate, the range of traits that can be counted as adaptations and impacts upon the way in which hypotheses are tested. Research traditions can share some broad theoretical commitments and yet still be distinct research traditions. Secondly, they argue against Buller’s view that past environments are not stable enough to produce the kind of psychological adaptations that evolutionary psychologists propose. They take this to be a claim that no adaptations can arise from an evolutionary arms race situation, for example, between predators and prey. But again, I think that the disagreement here is over what counts as an adaptation. Buller does not deny that adaptations— traits that arise as a product of natural selection—arise from all kinds of unstable environments. What he denies is that organ-like, special purpose adaptations are the likely result of such evolutionary scenarios.

Arp (2006) defends a hypothesis about a kind of module—scenario visualization—a psychological adaptation that arose in our hominid history in response to the demands of tool making, such as constructing spear throwing devices for hunting. Arp presents his hypothesis in the context of demonstrating the superiority of his approach to evolutionary psychology, which he calls “Narrow Evolutionary Psychology,” over “Broad Evolutionary Psychology,” with respect to accounting for archaeological evidence and facts about our psychology. While Arp’s hypothesis is innovative and interesting, he by no means defends it conclusively. This is partly because his strategy is to compare his hypothesis with archaeologist Steven Mithen’s (1996) non-modular “cognitive fluidity” hypothesis that is proposed to account for the same data. The problem here is that Mithen’s view is only one of the many alternative, evolutionary explanations of human tool making behavior. While Arp’s modular thesis may be superior to Mithen’s, he has not compared it to Sterelny’s (2003; 2012) account of tool making and tool use or to Boyd and Richerson’s (see, e.g., 2005) account and hence not ruled these accounts out as plausible alternatives. As neither of these alternative accounts rely on the postulation of psychological modules, evolutionary psychology is not adequately defended.

Many philosophers who work on moral psychology understand that their topic is empirically constrained. Philosophers take two main approaches to using empirical results in moral psychology. One is to use empirical results (and empirically based theories from psychology) to criticize philosophical accounts of moral psychology (see, e.g., Doris 2002) and one is to generate (and, in the experimental philosophy tradition, to test) hypotheses about our moral psychology (see, e.g., Nichols 2004). For those who think that some (or all) of our moral psychology is based in innate capacities, evolutionary psychology is a good source of empirical results and empirically based theory. One account of the make-up of our moral psychology follows from the massive modularity account of the architecture of the mind. Our moral judgments are a product of domain specific psychological modules that are adaptations and arose in our hominid forebears in response to contingencies in our (mostly) social environments. This position is currently widely discussed by philosophers working in moral psychology. An example of this discussion follows.

Cosmides (see, e.g., 1989) defends a hypothesis in evolutionary psychology that we have a cheater-detection module. [ 10 ] This module is hypothesized to underlie important components of our behavior in moral domains and fits with the massively modular view of our psychology in general. Cosmides (along with Tooby) argues that cheating is a violation of a particular kind of conditional rule that goes along with a social contract. Social exchange is a system of cooperation for mutual benefit and cheaters violate the social contract that governs social exchange (Cosmides & Tooby 2005). The selection pressure for a dedicated cheater-detection module is the presence of cheaters in the social world. The cheater-detection module is an adaptation that arose in response to cheaters. The cheater-detection hypothesis has been the focus of a huge amount of critical discussion. Cosmides and Tooby (2008) defend the idea that cheat detection is modular over hypotheses that more general rules of inference are involved in the kind of reasoning behind cheater detection against critics Ron Mallon (2008) and Fodor (2008). Some criticism of the cheater-detection hypothesis involves rehashing criticisms of massive modularity in general and some treats the hypothesis as a contribution to moral psychology and invokes different considerations. For example, Mallon (2008) worries about the coherence of abandoning a domain general conception of ought in our conception of our moral psychology. This discussion is also ongoing. (See, e.g., Sterelny 2012 for a selection of alternate, non-modular explanations of aspects of our moral psychology.)

Evolutionary psychology is well suited to providing an account of human nature. As noted above (Section 1), evolutionary psychology owes a theoretical debt to human sociobiology. E.O. Wilson took human sociobiology to provide us with an account of human nature (1978). For Wilson human nature is the collection of universal human behavioral repertoires and these behavioral repertoires are best understood as being products of natural selection. Evolutionary psychologists argue that human nature is not a collection of universal human behavioral repertoires but rather the universal psychological mechanisms underlying these behaviors (Tooby & Cosmides 1990). These universal psychological mechanisms are products of natural selection, as we saw in Section 2. above. Tooby and Cosmides put this claim as follows: “the concept of human nature is based on a species-typical collection of complex psychological adaptations” (1990, 17). So, for evolutionary psychologists, “human nature consists of a set of psychological adaptations that are presumed to be universal among, and unique to, human beings” (Buller 2005, 423). Machery’s (2008) nomological account of human nature is based on, and very similar to, the evolutionary psychologists’ account. Machery says that “human nature is the set of properties that humans tend to possess as a result of the evolution of their species” (2008, 323). While Machery’s account appeals to traits that have evolved and are universal (common to all humans), it is not limited to psychological mechanisms. For example, he thinks of bi-pedalism as part of the human nature trait cluster. Machery’s view captures elements of both the sociobiological view and the evolutionary psychology view of human nature. He shares the idea that a trait must be a product of evolution, rather than say social learning or enculturation, with both these accounts.

Some critical challenges to evolutionary psychological accounts of human nature (and the nomological account) derive from similar concerns as those driving criticism of evolutionary psychology in general. In Section 4. we see that discussions of evolutionary psychology are founded on disagreements about how adaptation should be characterized and disagreements about the role of variation in evolution. Some critics charge evolutionary psychologists of assuming that adaptation cannot sustain variation. Buller’s (2005) criticism of evolutionary psychologists’ account of human nature also invokes variation (Here he follows Hull 1986 and Sober 1980). The idea here is that humans, like all organisms, exhibit a great deal of variation, including morphological, physiological, behavioral and cultural variation (see also Amundson 2000). Buller argues that the evolutionary psychology account of human nature either ignores or fails to account for all of this variation (see also Lewens 2015 and Ramsey 2013). Any account that restricts human nature to just those traits we have in common and which also are not subject to change, cannot account for human variation.

Buller’s (2005) criticism of evolutionary psychologists’ notion of human nature (or the nomological account) is based on the idea that we vary across many dimensions and an account of human nature based on fixed, universal traits cannot account for any of this variation. The idea that to account for human nature, we must account for human variation is presented and defended by evolutionary psychologists (see, e.g., Barrett 2015), anthropologists (see e.g. Cashdan 2013) and philosophers (see, e.g., Griffiths 2011 and Ramsey 2013). Barrett agrees with Buller (and others) that evolutionary psychologists have failed to account for human variation in their account of human nature. Rather than seeing this challenge as a knock down of the whole enterprise of accounting for human nature, Barrett sees this as a challenge for an account of human nature. Barrett says “Whatever human nature is, it’s a biological phenomenon with all that implies” (2015, 321). So, human nature is “a big wobbly cloud that is different from the population clouds of squirrels and palm trees. To understand human minds and behaviors, we need to understand the properties of our own cloud, as messy as it might be” (2015, 232). Rather than human nature being a collection of shared fixed universal psychological traits, for Barrett, human nature is the whole human trait cluster, including all of the variation in all of our traits. This approach to human nature is sharply different than the approach defended by either Wilson, Tooby and Cosmides or Machery but is also subject to a number of criticisms. The main thrust of the criticisms is that such a view cannot be explanatory and is instead merely a big list of all the properties that humans have had and can have (see, e.g., Buller 2005; Downes 2016; Futuyma 1998; and Lewens 2015). Discussion over the tension between evolutionary psychologists’ views and the manifest variation in human traits continues in many areas that evolutionary psychologists focus on. Another example of this broader discussion is included in Section 7. below.

Evolutionary psychology is invoked in a wide range of areas of study, for example, in English Literature, Consumer Studies and Law. (See Buss 2005 for discussion of Literature and Law and Saad 2007 for a detailed presentation of evolutionary psychology and consumer studies.) In these contexts, evolutionary psychology is usually introduced as providing resources for practitioners, which will advance the relevant field. Philosophers have responded critically to some of these applications of evolutionary psychology. One concern is that often evolutionary psychology is conflated with evolution or evolutionary theory in general (see, e.g., Leiter & Weisberg 2009 and Downes 2013). The discussion reviewed in Section 4. above, reveals a good deal of disagreement between evolutionary theorists and evolutionary psychologists over the proper account of evolution. Evolutionary psychologists offer to enhance fields such as Law and Consumer Studies by introducing evolutionary ideas but what is in fact offered is a selection of theoretical resources championed only by proponents of a specific approach to evolutionary psychology. For example, Gad Saad (2007) argues that Consumer Studies will profit greatly from the addition of adaptive thinking, i.e. looking for apparent design, and by introducing hypothetical evolved modules to account for consumer behavior. However, this does not appear to be an effort to bring evolutionary theory, broadly construed, to bear on Consumer Studies (Downes 2013). Promoting disputed theoretical ideas is certainly problematic but bigger worries arise when thoroughly discredited work is promoted in the effort to apply evolutionary psychology. Owen Jones (see, e.g., 2000; 2005), who believes that Law will benefit from the application of evolutionary psychology, champions Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer’s (2000) widely discredited view that rape is an adaptation as exemplary evolutionary work (see de Waal 2000, Coyne & Berry 2000, Coyne 2003, Lloyd 2003, Vickers & Kitcher 2003, and Kimmel 2003). Further, Jones (2000) claims that the critics of Thornhill and Palmer’s work have no credibility as scientists and evolutionary theorists. This claim indicates Jones’ serious disconnect with the wider scientific (and philosophical) literature on evolutionary theory (Leiter & Weisberg 2009).

Aside from monitoring the expansion efforts of evolutionary psychology, there are a number of other areas in which further philosophical work on evolutionary psychology will be fruitful. The examples given above of work in moral psychology barely scratch the surface of this rapidly developing field. There are huge numbers of empirical hypotheses that bear on our conception of our moral psychology that demand philosophical scrutiny. (Hauser 2006 includes a survey of a wide range of such hypotheses.) Also, work on moral psychology and the emotions can be drawn together via work on evolutionary psychology and related fields. Griffiths (1997) directed philosophical attention to evolution and the emotions and this kind of work has been brought into closer contact with moral psychology by Nichols (see, e.g., his 2004). In philosophy of mind there is still much that can be done on the topic of modules. Work on integrating biological and psychological concepts of modules is one avenue that is being pursued and could be fruitfully pursued further (see, e.g., Barrett & Kurzban 2006; Carruthers 2006) and work on connecting biology to psychology via genetics is another promising area (see e.g. Marcus 2004). In philosophy of science, I have no doubt that many more criticisms of evolutionary psychology will be presented but a relatively underdeveloped area of philosophical research is on the relations among all of the various, theoretically different, approaches to the biology of human behavior (but see Downes 2005; Griffiths 2008; and Brown et al. 2011). Evolutionary psychologists present their work alongside the work of behavioral ecologists, developmental psychobiologists and others (see, e.g., Buss 2005; Buss 2007) but do not adequately confront the theoretical difficulties that face an integrated enterprise in the biology of human behavior. Finally, while debate rages between biologically influenced and other social scientists, most philosophers have not paid much attention to potential integration of evolutionary psychology into the broader interdisciplinary study of society and culture (but see Mallon and Stich 2000 on evolutionary psychology and constructivism). In contrast, feminist philosophers have paid attention to this integration issue as well as offered feminist critiques of evolutionary psychology (see Fehr 2012, Meynell 2012 and the entry on feminist philosophy of biology ). Gillian Barker (2015), shares some evolutionarily based criticisms of evolutionary psychology with philosophers of biology discussed in Section 4. but also assesses evolutionary psychology in relation to other social sciences. She also adds a novel critical appraisal of evolutionary psychology. She argues that, as currently practiced, evolutionary psychology is not a fruitful guide to social policy regarding human flourishing.

The publication of Shackleford and Weekes-Shackleford’s (2017) huge collection of articles on issues arising in the evolutionary psychological sciences provides a great resource for philosophers looking for material to fuel critical discussion. Many evolutionary psychologists are aware of the difficulty variation presents for some established approaches in their field. This issue confronts those interested in developing accounts of human nature, as noted above (Section 6.), but also arises when confronting many of the varying human behaviors evolutionary psychologists seek to account for. For example, human aggression varies along many dimensions and confronting and accounting for each of these types of variation is a challenge for many evolutionary psychologists (Downes & Tabery 2017). Given that evolutionary psychology is just one, among many, evolutionarily based approaches to explaining human behavior, the most promising critical discussions of evolutionary psychology should continue to come from work that compares hypotheses drawn from evolutionary psychology with hypotheses drawn from other evolutionary approaches and other approaches in the social sciences more broadly construed. Stephan Linquist (2016) takes this approach to evolutionary psychologists’ work on cultures of honor. Linquist introduces hypotheses from cultural evolution that appear to offer more explanatory bite than those from evolutionary psychology. The broader issue of tension between evolutionary psychology and cultural evolution here will doubtless continue to attract the critical attention of philosophers. (See Lewens 2015 for a nice clear introduction to and discussion of alternative approaches to cultural evolution.)

Interest has re-emerged in the relation(s) between evolutionary psychology and the other social sciences (Buss 2020). Some time ago, John Dupré (1994) diagnosed evolutionary psychology as an exercise in scientific imperialism. Dupré later characterized scientific imperialism as “the tendency for a successful scientific idea to be applied far beyond its original home, and generally with decreasing success the more its application is expanded” (2001, 16). Dupré uses “scientific imperialism” in a pejorative sense and marshals this as a criticism of evolutionary psychology. (See Downes 2017 for further discussion of scientific imperialism and evolutionary psychology.) Buss (2020) does not cite Dupré but might well be responding to him when he proposes that evolutionary psychology constitutes a scientific revolution in Kuhn’s sense. Buss argues that evolutionary psychology is superior to other approaches in psychology, because it has supplanted them (or at least should supplant them) just as Einstein’s physics supplanted Newton’s or just as cognitive psychology supplanted behaviorism. (David Reich [2018] casts ancient DNA research in similarly Kuhnian terms and offers it up as superior to all previous approaches in archaeology.) Buss takes evolutionary psychology to be a meta-theoretical approach best fit for guiding all of psychology. This is one of the many ways in which his appeal to Kuhn is strained, as Buss is not looking back on the supplanting of one theoretical framework by another but rather arguing for the superiority of his approach to others available in psychology. A further, and quite specific way that Buss sees evolutionary psychology as superior to other approaches in psychology (and the social sciences in general, is that evolutionary psychology ignores (or should ignore) proximate explanations. For Buss, evolutionary psychology offers ultimate explanations and these are enough. However, many areas of biology, for example, physiology, trade in proximate explanations and are not likely to be cast aside because of this focus. This implies that there is still a place for proximate explanations in psychology. This brief discussion indicates that the relations between evolutionary psychology and the rest of psychology, and the social sciences, more broadly is a topic well worth pursuing by philosophers of science and Buss’ and Dupré’s accounts present interesting alternate starting points in this endeavor.

Finally, philosophers of science will doubtless continue to check the credentials of evolutionary ideas imported into other areas of philosophy. Philosophers of biology in particular, still voice suspicion if philosophers borrow their evolutionary ideas from evolutionary psychology rather than evolutionary biology. Philip Kitcher (2017) voices this concern with regards to Sharon Street’s (2006) appeals to evolution. Kitcher worries that Street does not rely on “what is known about human evolution” (2017, 187) to provide an account of how her traits of interest may have emerged. As noted above, Machery’s nomological notion of human nature (2008; 2017) is criticized on the grounds that he takes his idea of an evolved trait from evolutionary psychology as opposed to evolutionary biology. Barker (2015) also encourages philosophers, as well as social scientists, to draw from the huge range of theoretical resources evolutionary biologists have to offer, rather than just from those provided by evolutionary psychologists.

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Cited Resources

  • Buller, D., 2000, “ Evolutionary Psychology ” (a guided tour), in M. Nani and M. Marraffa (eds.), A Field Guide to the Philosophy of Mind .

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Scientists at the Center for Evolutionary Psychology specialize in finding new ways that an evolutionary perspective can inform research on the design of the human mind.  In so doing, we have been researching many new topics, as well as trying out new approaches to old topics.  Below we provide a partial list with links to some relevant research papers. 

Principles of evolutionary psychology

A roadmap to principles of evolutionary psychology

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Darwinian medicine, Darwinian psychiatry


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Darwin in Mind: New Opportunities for Evolutionary Psychology

* E-mail: [email protected] (JJB); [email protected] (KNL)

Affiliation Behavioural Biology Group and Helmholtz Institute, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Affiliation School of Psychology, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom

Affiliation Department of Philosophy, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States of America

Affiliation School of Biology, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom

  • Johan J. Bolhuis, 
  • Gillian R. Brown, 
  • Robert C. Richardson, 
  • Kevin N. Laland


Published: July 19, 2011

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Evolutionary Psychology (EP) views the human mind as organized into many modules, each underpinned by psychological adaptations designed to solve problems faced by our Pleistocene ancestors. We argue that the key tenets of the established EP paradigm require modification in the light of recent findings from a number of disciplines, including human genetics, evolutionary biology, cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, and paleoecology. For instance, many human genes have been subject to recent selective sweeps; humans play an active, constructive role in co-directing their own development and evolution; and experimental evidence often favours a general process, rather than a modular account, of cognition. A redefined EP could use the theoretical insights of modern evolutionary biology as a rich source of hypotheses concerning the human mind, and could exploit novel methods from a variety of adjacent research fields.

Citation: Bolhuis JJ, Brown GR, Richardson RC, Laland KN (2011) Darwin in Mind: New Opportunities for Evolutionary Psychology. PLoS Biol 9(7): e1001109.

Copyright: © 2011 Bolhuis et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funding: JJB is funded by Utrecht University and by Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) grants (ALW Open Competition and GW Horizon Programme) ( ). GRB is funded by a Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellowship, UK ( ). RCR is funded by the University of Cincinnati. KNL is funded by the BBSRC, UK ( ) and an ERC Advanced Grant ). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Abbreviations: AI, artificial intelligence; EEA, environment of evolutionary adaptedness; EP, Evolutionary Psychology

In the century and a half since Charles Darwin's publication of the Origin of Species , evolutionary theory has become the bedrock of modern biology; yet, its application to the human mind remains steeped in controversy [1] – [13] . Darwin himself wrote of cognitive evolution, most notably in The Descent of Man , where he suggested that like any other trait, human “mental faculties” are the outcome of evolution by natural and sexual selection and insisted that they should be understood in light of what he called “common descent”. This evolutionary interpretation of human cognition was taken up in the 1980s by contemporary evolutionary psychology, which rapidly became dominated by a school of thought stemming from the University of California at Santa Barbara (see Box 1 ). The essence of this brand of Evolutionary Psychology (EP) is neatly summarized in the famous quote that “Our modern skulls house a Stone Age mind” [2] .

Box 1. The Major Tenets of Evolutionary Psychology

According to the Santa Barbara school of Evolutionary Psychology (EP), human minds are organized into a large number of evolved psychological mechanisms—psychological adaptations designed to solve recurrent problems faced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors [30] . These evolutionary psychologists attempt to provide criteria for “carving the mind at its natural joints” [104] , generally by reverse-engineering from an observable phenomenon to its proposed function.

In the 1980s, four major tenets of EP crystallized, and these ideas became widespread. While not all evolutionary psychologists endorse the Santa Barbara perspective, these ideas have nonetheless shaped the broader field, and remain extremely prevalent.

1. The environment of evolutionary adaptedness ( EEA ). This concept refers to the notion that our psychological mechanisms have evolved in response to stable features of ancestral environments [87] . While the EEA has frequently been equated with an African Pleistocene savanna, this version of the concept has been strongly critiqued [66] , and the more recent formulation of the EEA concept presents a broader, less specific theoretical landscape of our past lives, based on an abstract statistical composite of all relevant past selective environments [105] .

2. Gradualism. Evolutionary psychologists argue that minds are built from co-adapted gene complexes that are unable to respond quickly to selection [105] , [106] . When combined with the concept of the EEA, gradualism suggests that human beings experience an adaptive lag [88] , such that evolved psychological mechanisms may not produce adaptive responses in modern human environments that have undergone dramatic recent changes [105] .

3. Massive modularity. Given that different sets of adaptive problems will have required different computational solutions, the mind is argued to consist predominantly of domain-specific, modular programmes [105] . Whether the mind also contains evolved general-purpose processes remains debated within EP [104] .

4. Universal human nature. The evolved computational programmes in the human mind are assumed to be responsible for producing a universal (that is, species-typical) human nature [105] . At the same time, different outcomes of these programmes are suggested to be triggered by different environmental or social conditions, leading to the prediction of both universal behavioural outcomes and locally specified adaptive solutions [105] .

However, many evolutionarily minded psychologists, evolutionary biologists, and philosophers of science disagree with the theoretical proposals put forward by the Santa Barbara evolutionary psychologists, and the discipline has been the subject of intense debates [1] , [3] – [13] . Here, we assess the impact of recent developments in genetics, evolutionary and developmental biology, paleoecology, and cognitive science on EP and then go on to suggest that these developments provide new avenues for research.

Reassessing the Major Tenets of Evolutionary Psychology

EP is encapsulated by four major tenets (see Box 1 ) that have generated considerable discussion. Here, we argue that all of these basic assumptions need to be reassessed in the light of contemporary evidence.

The Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness and Gradualism

EP argues that that human cognitive processes evolved in response to selection pressures acting in ancestral conditions—in an environment of evolutionary adaptedness (EEA)—and are not necessarily adaptive in a contemporary world that has changed radically in recent millennia. From this vantage point, genetic evolution simply could not keep pace fully with the extraordinary rate at which human technology transformed environments. Tied up with this notion of adaptive lag (or mismatch between our biology and our environment) is an emphasis on evolutionary gradualism: evolutionary change, particularly with respect to complex adaptations in the human mind, is deemed to have occurred slowly; too slowly to have led to significant genetic change in the few hundred generations that have elapsed since the end of the Pleistocene, or even since the spread of modern humans around the world over the last 50,000 years.

Recent developments in human genetics have challenged the concepts of adaptive lag and gradualism. EP originated in the early 1980s, when our knowledge of the human genome was limited and gradualism dominated evolutionary thinking (although biologists' attempts to estimate rates of selection in nature were in full flow in the 1970s [14] , leaving the Santa Barbara school's gradualism assumption contentious from the outset). Since then, geneticists have not only mapped the genome, but have devised means for detecting which genes have been subject to recent selection [15] – [19] . There have been substantial human genetic changes in the last 50,000 years, with possibly as much as 10% of human genes affected [19] . Events in the Holocene (the last 10,000 years), particularly the adoption of agriculture, domestication of animals, and the increases in human densities that these practices afforded, were a major source of selection on our species [17] – [22] , and possibly accelerated human evolution [20] , [22] . Evidence from the human genome strongly suggests that recent human evolution has been affected by responses to features of the environment that were constructed by humans, from culturally facilitated changes in diet, to aspects of modern living that inadvertently promoted the spread of diseases [22] , [23] . Genes expressed in the human brain are well-represented in this recent selection [11] , [12] .

Evolutionary biologists have also measured the rate of response to selection in a wide variety of animals [14] , [24] , finding that evolutionary change typically occurs much faster than hitherto thought. A recent meta-analysis of 63 studies that measured the strength of natural selection in 62 species, including more than 2,500 estimates of selection, concluded that the median selection gradient (a measure of the rate of change of fitness with trait value) was 0.16, which would cause a quantitative trait to change by one standard deviation in just 25 generations [24] . If humans exhibit equivalent rates, then significant genetic evolution would occur over the course of a few hundred years. While fast evolution is far from inevitable, there is nonetheless strong evidence that it has frequently occurred in humans. EP has yet to come to terms with the possibility of recent, rapid genetic changes with their potential for associated neural rewiring.

Even if we consider the selection pressures that acted on ancestral human populations during the Pleistocene epoch (approximately 1.7 million to 10,000 years ago), the abstract concept of stable selection pressures in the EEA is challenged by recent evidence from paleoecology and paleoanthropology. The Pleistocene was apparently far from stable, not only being variable, but progressively changing in the pattern of variation [25] , [26] . The world experienced by members of the genus Homo in the early Pleistocene was very different from that experienced in the late Pleistocene, and even early anatomical modern Homo sapiens that lived around 150,000 years ago led very different lives from Upper Paleolithic people (40,000 years ago) [27] – [29] .


EP has also placed emphasis on the concept of human nature, comprising a species-specific repertoire of universal, evolved psychological mechanisms, from a childhood fear of strangers, to a cheater-detection mechanism, to a preference for specific mate characteristics. This putative universal cognition can be rendered compatible with the observed diversity in human behaviour by recourse to context-dependent strategies. From this perspective, the mind shifts between pre-specified behavioural outputs in response to differential environmental influences [30] , [31] .

This explanation of human behavioral variation is also contentious [3] , [32] – [34] . The notion of universalism has led to the view that undergraduates at Western universities constitute a representative sample of human nature, a view that has been subject to criticism from anthropologists and psychologists [33] – [35] . Moreover, by EP's formulation, all epigenetic and developmental effects simply evoke alternative genetically pre-specified strategies. Recent trends in developmental psychology and neuroscience have instead stressed the malleability of the human brain, emphasizing how experience tunes and regulates synaptic connectivity, neural circuitry and gene expression in the brain, leading to remarkable plasticity in the brain's structural and functional organization [36] . Neuroscientists have been aware since the 1980s that the human brain has too much architectural complexity for it to be plausible that genes specify its wiring in detail [37] ; therefore, developmental processes carry much of the burden of establishing neural connections.

In parallel, emerging trends in evolutionary theory, particularly the growth of developmental systems theory, epigenetic inheritance, and niche-construction theory, have placed emphasis on organisms as active constructors of their environments [38] – [40] . The development of an organism, including the characteristics of its brain, involves a complex interaction between genetically inherited information, epigenetic influences, and learning in response to constructed features of the physical and social environment [5] , [40] – [45] . From this viewpoint, the human mind does not consist of pre-specified programmes, but is built via a constant interplay between the individual and its environment [45] , [46] , a point made by developmental psychologist Daniel Lehrman [47] many years ago. By constructing their worlds (for example, by building homes, planting crops, and setting up social institutions), humans co-direct their own development and evolution [22] , [39] , [48] , [49] .

The view that a universal genetic programme underpins human cognition is also not fully consistent with current genetic evidence. Humans are less genetically diverse than many species, including other apes [50] , largely because human effective population sizes were small until around 70,000 years ago [51] , [52] . Nonetheless, there is enough genetic variation to have supported considerable adaptive change in the intervening time, and recent thinking amongst geneticists is that our species' unique reliance on learned behaviour and culture may have relaxed allowable thresholds for large-scale genomic diversity [21] , [53] . Human behavioral genetics has also identified genetic variation underlying an extensive list of cognitive and behavioural characteristics [54] .

While variation within populations accounts for the bulk of human genetic variation, around 5%–7% of genetic differences can be attributed to variation between populations [55] . Some of the significant genetic differences between human populations have arisen from recent selective events [56] , [57] . Gene-culture coevolution may well turn out to be the characteristic pattern of evolutionary change in humans over recent time spans [22] , [58] (see Box 2 ). From this perspective, cultural practices are likely to have influenced selection pressures on the human brain, raising the possibility that genetic variation could lead to biases in the human cognitive processing between, as well as within, populations. In summary, there is no uniform human genetic program.

Box 2. Gene-Culture Coevolution

Gene-culture coevolutionary theory explores how genetic and cultural processes interact over evolutionary time [22] , [58] . Changes in diet afforded by cultural practices, such as agriculture and the domestication of plants and animals, provide compelling examples of gene-culture coevolution, demonstrating how cultural practices have transformed the selection pressures acting on humans and given rise to some of the genetic differences between human populations. For instance, there is now little doubt that dairy farming created the selective environment that favoured the spread of alleles for adult lactose tolerance [85] , [107] , [108] . Another example concerns the evolution of the human amylase gene: Perry et al. [109] found that copy number of the salivary amylase gene ( AMY1 ) is positively correlated with salivary amylase protein level and that individuals from human populations with high-starch diets have, on average, more AMY1 copies than those with traditionally low-starch diets. Indeed, the transition to novel food sources with the advent of agriculture and the colonization of new habitats would appear to have been a major source of selection on humans [17] , [110] , and several genes related to the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, and phosphates show signals of recent selection [17] – [19] .

More generally, human dispersal and subsequent exposure to novel climates, aggregation and exposure to new pathogens, and farming and exposure to new diets are now widely thought to be the source of selection for the spread of many human alleles [22] . Amongst the overrepresented categories in genome-wide scans of recent selection are numerous alleles expressed in the human nervous system and brain [17] – [19] . This raises the possibility that complex cognition on which culture is reliant (social intelligence, language, and challenges associated with constructing and adapting to new environmental conditions) have driven human brain evolution. Mathematical models exploring how genetic and cultural processes interact provide strong support for the role of gene-culture coevolution in human evolution [92] , [111] – [115] . Analyses of these models has often revealed patterns and rates of change that are uncharacteristic of more traditional population genetic theory [92,114–116]. Gene-culture dynamics are typically faster and stronger and operate over a broader range of conditions than conventional evolutionary dynamics [22] , [83] , [117] , [118] .

EP's emphasis on a universal human nature has hindered its exploitation of new opportunities to examine human diversity utilizing evolutionary biology. Contemporary evolution theory makes predictions about behavioural variation within and between populations in traits commonly studied by evolutionary psychologists. For example, sex differences in mate preferences constitute a large proportion of EP research and are generally assumed to exhibit universal patterns (e.g., [59] , [60] ); however, sexual selection theory suggests that a number of factors, such as sex-biased mortality, population density, and variation in mate quality, will affect sex roles (see Box 3 ). A modern EP would make greater use of the theoretical insights of modern evolutionary biology as a source of testable hypotheses [3] , [6] .

Box 3. Reconsidering the Evolution of Sex Roles

Based on the classic work of Bateman [119] and Trivers [120] , EP has predicted sex differences in the relative competiveness and choosiness of men and women when seeking mating partners. Men are generally assumed to have been selected to favour more sexual partners than women and to base their choices on the age, health, and physical attractiveness of prospective partners; in contrast, women are assumed to be more choosy than men and to base their judgements on the willingness of males to invest resources in their offspring [59] . However, contemporary sexual selection theory [121] , [122] suggests that a number of factors, such as sex-biased mortality, population density, and variation in mate quality, will affect how competitive and choosy males and females are, with sex roles expected to vary considerably within and between societies. For example, this theory predicts that, in human beings, both sexes will be choosy when encounter rates with potential mates are high, particularly where the parental investment levels of both sexes are large and not too different, and/or where variation in mate quality of both sexes is high, and males are likely to be choosy in populations with a female-biased adult sex ratio and considerable paternal investment.

The prediction that sex roles will vary between populations is borne out in data on variance in mating and reproductive success in current and historic human populations, which does not support the notion of a single universal pattern [123] . In addition, evolutionary psychologists have themselves begun to record cross-cultural variation in mate preferences and to examine whether variables such as adult sex ratios and local pathogen loads can explain within- and between-population variation in mating behaviour (e.g., [31] ). However, the EP perspective generally assumes that context-specific strategies are pre-programmed within our evolved psychological mechanisms, such that individuals possess multiple strategies that are differentially elicited by certain external factors or that individuals develop a particular strategy as a result of environmental inputs acting on evolved developmental systems during early life (e.g., [30] , [60] . Arguably, the more flexible and variable the exhibited behaviour, the less explanatory power can be attributed to evolved structure in the mind.

An alternative perspective, supported by developmental systems and niche construction theorists (e.g., [38] , [39] ), posits that the human mind does not consist solely of pre-specified programmes and that brain development is strongly influenced by transmitted culture. One of the key contrasts between this perspective and traditional EP is therefore the role that socially transmitted culture has to play in the development of the brain and behaviour [32] . For illustration, consider how the relatively recent developments of agriculture (niche construction), high-density populations, and the evolution of social stratification (transmitted culture), have dramatically changed the ecological context of human mating decisions from what would have occurred in hunter-gatherer societies. According to the aforementioned theory, the increasing encounter rates that such practices likely afforded should have led to much greater choosiness in both modern men and women compared to their Pleistocene ancestors. Modern evolutionary theory has much to offer evolutionary psychologists who are willing to eschew a focus on universality.

Massive Modularity

EP has proposed that the mind consists of evolved cognitive modules, a perspective referred to as the massive modularity hypothesis [61] , [62] . Massive modularity is a somewhat idiosyncratic interpretation of Fodor's [63] original concept of modularity. Essentially, Fodor suggested that what he called input systems (such as those involved in auditory and visual perception, but also in language) were modular, i.e., operating in relative isolation from each other. Information from these modular systems would be passed on to central systems (involved in problem solving or thought) that themselves were thought not to be modular. EP has extended modularity to involve the whole mind/brain.

The thesis of massive modularity is not supported by the neuroscientific evidence [64] – [67] . Firstly, comparative psychology presents an unassailable case for the existence of domain-general mechanisms. The processes of associative learning are widespread in animals and have general properties that allow animals to learn about the causal relationships among a wide variety of events [68] , [69] . For instance, a simple learning theory rule, known as the Rescorla–Wagner rule [70] , has proved extraordinarily useful in explaining the results of hundreds of experiments in diverse animals, including foraging in honeybees, avoidance conditioning in goldfish, and inferential reasoning in humans.

Secondly, there is broad involvement of diverse neural structures in many psychological processes, and there is feedback even to the most basic perceptual processing. For instance, the hominid brain has not only witnessed a proportional expansion of the neocortex, but the neocortex has become intricately interconnected and has evolved projections into the medulla and spinal cord [71] . This has allowed humans to learn intricate routines of movement and complex manual tasks, because the Fodorian executive part of the brain can directly monitor the fingers and the feet [71] . The same projections allow exhibit fine control of the tongue, vocal chords, and breathing, without which humans probably could not have learned to speak [71] . After evaluating the evidence and consistent with Fodor's original proposals, Bolhuis and Macphail [64] suggested that there is no evidence for modularity in central systems such as those involved in learning and memory. With regard to cognitive mechanisms, more often than not, data from animal experiments is consistent with a general-process account rather than an interpretation involving adaptively specialized cognitive modules [64] , [65] , [67] , [72] .

A large part of EP's emphasis on massive modularity drew from artificial intelligence (AI) research. While the great lesson from AI research of the 1970s was that domain specificity was critical to intelligent behaviour, the lesson of the new millennium is that intelligent agents (such as driverless robotic cars) require integration and decision-making across domains, regularly utilize general-process tools such as Bayesian analysis, stochastic modelling, and optimization, and are responsive to a variety of environmental cues [73] . However, while AI research has shifted away from an emphasis on domain specificity, some evolutionary psychologists continue to argue that selection would have favoured predominantly domain-specific mechanisms (e.g., [74] ). In contrast, others have started to present the case for domain-general evolved psychological mechanisms (e.g., [75] , [76] ), and evidence from developmental psychology suggests that domain-general learning mechanisms frequently build on knowledge acquired through domain-specific perceptual processes and core cognition [44] . Both domain-specific and domain-general mechanisms are compatible with evolutionary theory, and their relative importance in human information processing will only be revealed through careful experimentation, leading to a greater understanding of how the brain works [44] .

Towards a New Science of the Evolution of the Mind

We have reviewed how developments in a number of scientific fields have called into question the key tenets of EP. Fortunately, these developments do not just create problems for EP, but also suggest potential solutions. We argue that the key factor will be the methodological and conceptual integration of EP with adjacent fields.

Traditionally, EP has tested hypotheses using the conventional tools of psychology (questionnaires, computer-based experiments, etc.). Generally these hypotheses have a functional perspective—that is, EP proposes that a particular mechanism functioned to enhance reproductive success in our ancestors. However, Nobel laureate Niko Tinbergen [77] famously proposed that understanding behavior requires comprehension not only of its function and evolution, but also of its causation and development [78] , and he argued that a complete understanding of behavior involves addressing all four of these questions. These distinctions are relevant because accounts of the evolution of brain and cognition cannot in themselves explain the brain's underlying working mechanisms [1] , since these are logically distinct questions. While evolutionary analyses may generate clues as to the mechanisms of human cognition, these are best regarded as hypotheses, not established explanations, that need to be tested empirically [1] , [64] , [79] , and there are instances where such evolutionary hypotheses about mechanisms have had to be rejected [1] . Here, we ask which of Tinbergen's questions is currently addressed in the field of EP and describe how EP could expand its focus to provide a broader and richer understanding of human behaviour.

Evolutionary psychologists commonly seek to study how the human mind works by using knowledge of evolution to formulate, and sometimes test, hypotheses concerning the function of cognitive architecture. While functional or evolutionary considerations cannot be used to test hypotheses about mechanisms, considerations in one domain can generate hypotheses concerning problems in the other domain. For instance, a theory of the evolution of a certain cognitive trait may generate hypotheses as to the mechanisms of that trait. Evolutionary psychologists have conducted hundreds of empirical studies to test the predictions generated by consideration of evolutionary arguments [80] . However, we should be clear that such studies do not test the evolutionary hypotheses themselves, but rather test whether the predictions about the psychological mechanisms have been upheld [6] , [81] . For example, the numerous studies supporting the hypothesis that human beings are predisposed to detect cheaters in social situations [74] , [82] are consistent with several evolutionary explanations. While the original researchers reasoned that cheater detection has resulted from a selective history of reciprocal altruism [82] , alternative evolutionary explanations, for instance that a history of cultural group selection has selected for this trait [83] , and non-evolutionary explanations, are also plausible.

The recent trend within the behavioural sciences has been away from confirmation or rejection of a single hypothesis towards the far more powerful simultaneous evaluation of multiple competing statistical models through model selection procedures [84] . A modern EP would, as standard practice, conduct empirical studies designed specifically to test between multiple competing adaptive and non-adaptive explanations [13] , and would test the evolutionary historical, as well as the proximate, aspects of its hypotheses. In the following sections, we examine how EP could expand to cover all four of Tinbergen's questions.

i) A modern EP would evaluate the evolution of a character by constructing and testing population genetic models, estimating and measuring responses to selection, exploring the covariation of phenotypic traits or genetic variation with putative selective agents, making comparisons across species and seeking correlates to selected traits in the selective environment, and so forth, as do contemporary evolutionary biologists. In addition to these established tools, researchers can also exploit modern comparative statistical methods applied to cultural and behavioural variation [85] and gene-culture coevolutionary theory [22] , [58] , [83] , [86] to reconstruct human evolutionary histories. The function of reliable aspects of human cognition, and of consistent behavioural patterns, can be explored utilizing the same methods. An important point here is that researchers are not restricted to considerations of the current function of evolved traits, and well-established methods are available to reconstruct the evolutionary history of human cognition.

ii) With regard to functional questions, while EP has stressed the idea that human beings are adapted to past worlds [87] , a niche-construction perspective argues that human beings are predicted to build environments to suit their adaptations, and to construct solutions to self-imposed challenges, aided and abetted by the extraordinary level of adaptive plasticity afforded by our capacities for learning and culture [88] . While adaptiveness is far from guaranteed, from this theoretical perspective humans are expected to experience far less adaptive lag than anticipated by EP [88] . If correct, examining the relationship between evolved psychological mechanisms and reproductive success in modern environments will not necessarily be an unproductive task.

Consistent with this hypothesis is the observation that humans have experienced extraordinary levels of population growth, indicative of increments in absolute fitness, in the Holocene whilst exposed to modern, culturally constructed environmental conditions [60] . However, rather than simply pronouncing that human behaviour is, or is not, likely to be adaptive, a modern EP would carry out quantitative analyses across a multitude of behavioural and cognitive traits to measure to what extent, or on what occasions, human behaviour is currently adaptive (e.g., [89] ). We anticipate that the formal methods of human behavioural ecology are likely to be productive even in modern societies, in many instances (e.g., [90] , [91] ). Where the use of optimality models proves unproductive, cultural evolution and gene-culture coevolutionary models could be developed to investigate whether the data conform to equilibria that are not globally optimal (e.g., [92] ). Researchers could go on to explore which factors explain this variation, for instance by measuring, among diverse traits and across a broad range of populations, what percentage of the variance in behaviour is explained by local ecology and what percentage is better predicted by cultural history (e.g., [93] ).

iii) In order to study the causal mechanisms underlying the character, researchers can employ methodologies that are available to modern cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists, such as fMRI and related technology, and take advantage of advances in genetics. While much EP research describes human behaviour in terms of information processing, decision rules and cognition, the psychological adaptations can also be described at the level of the nervous system. Cognitive and behavioural neuroscientists have amassed a huge amount of research on the functioning of the nervous system, including the influence of genes on brain development. However, evolutionary psychologists rarely examine whether their hypotheses regarding evolved psychological mechanisms are supported by what is known about how the brain works. Here the role of evolutionary knowledge is less direct, and again relegated to the generation of novel hypotheses that can be tested using established protocols.

Variation in experimental procedures, patterns of connectivity, differences between individuals, and comparisons across species potentially allows researchers to explore to what extent the circuitry associated with the focal mechanism is human specific, and to identify both the major genes involved and the environmental conditions that regulate their expression. There is evidence that modern neuroscience technologies are starting to be used to test hypotheses generated from evolutionary theory [94] – [97] , and some evolutionary psychologists are beginning to present evolutionary accounts of genetic variation underlying traits such as personality [98] – [100] . The aforementioned developments in cognitive neuroscience and genetics open up further opportunities for a broader EP.

iv) As discussed earlier, development is an extremely important factor in human cognition, and the human mind is built via a constant interplay between the individual and its environment. Recent work by developmental psychologists demonstrates how it is possible to detect the unlearned roots of cognition, such as deep, explicit conceptual understanding, through careful experimentation on young children [44] . Such experiments also reveal the manner in which culturally and individually variable concepts emerge, through domain-general learning akin to bootstrapping, in response to a culturally constructed, symbolically encoded environments [44] . In principle, all posited evolved psychological mechanisms, from fear of snakes to cheater-detection mechanisms, could be subject to the same kind of detailed developmental investigation.

Recent trends in developmental biology and cognitive neuroscience recognize that the human brain and behaviour are shaped to an important extent by individual and social learning [36] . Hitherto, EP's theoretical stance led it to assume domain specificity in cognition, resulting in the neglect of opportunities to investigate to what extent human social and asocial learning are reliant upon processes that apply across domains, or the manner in which cross-domain general learning processes build on domain-specific inputs. For instance, while behavioural innovation is critical to the survival of animals living in changing and unpredictable environments, whether such innovation is channeled in a context specific manner is unclear. Innovation could instead be reliant on domain-general mechanisms expressed in complex cognition, intelligence and learning; for instance, innovation could involve learned behaviour patterns being adapted to a new domain. Available evidence suggests the latter scenario [76] , [101] .

Similarly, EP has engaged in a longstanding debate with advocates of cultural evolution over whether human social learning is governed by evolved content biases (e.g., choose the sugar-rich food) or by domain-general context biases (e.g., conform to the local norm). There is sufficient empirical evidence for the deployment of context biases, such as conformity or prestige bias, to render the casual dismissal of transmitted culture counterproductive [102] , [103] . A broader EP could actively pursue these questions, by testing experimentally whether human social learning is dominated by content or context biases, and by investigating the factors that affect reliance on each. The finding that innovation, social learning, and other aspects of development are capable of introducing novelty into phenotype design space, thereby establishing new selective scenarios [39] , [41] , [48] , opens up new opportunities for investigating evolutionary novelty to which social scientists can actively participate.


None of the aforementioned scientific developments render evolutionary psychology unfeasible; they merely require that EP should change its daily practice. The key concepts of EP have led to a series of widely held assumptions (e.g., that human behaviour is unlikely to be adaptive in modern environments, that cognition is domain-specific, that there is a universal human nature), which with the benefit of hindsight we now know to be questionable. A modern EP would embrace a broader, more open, and multi-disciplinary theoretical framework, drawing on, rather than being isolated from, the full repertoire of knowledge and tools available in adjacent disciplines. Such a field would embrace the challenge of exploring empirically, for instance, to what extent human cognition is domain-general or domain specific, under what circumstances human behaviour is adaptive, how best to explain variation in human behaviour and cognition. The evidence from adjacent disciplines suggests that, if EP can reconsider its basic tenets, it will flourish as a scientific discipline.

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Evolutionary Psychology

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This chapter discusses evolutionary psychology (and its predecessor, sociobiology), which is the discipline that most explicitly unites biology and psychology and the discipline that is the most egregiously misunderstood (and most bitterly attacked) among the contemporary fields relevant to the contextualist framework.

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10 Evolutionary Psychology Examples

evolutionary psychology examples and definition

Evolutionary psychology aims to understand how thoughts, actions, and behavior are shaped by evolutionary forces (Mealey, 2023; Workman, 2004).

Evolutionary psychology proposes that the human brain and mind have developed in ways that were evolutionarily advantageous to our ancestors.

Therefore, according to this approach, we need to understand the evolutionary origins of mental processes to fully understand human behavior.

The mental processes and mechanisms that have evolved to solve problems of survival and reproduction are called psychological adaptations.  

An example of evolutionary psychology is the investigation of the underlying psychological reasons we might prefer to mate with partners with certain physical or behavioral traits.

Evolutionary Psychology Definition and Explanation

Evolutionary psychology has its roots in Darwin’s theory of natural selection.

Charles Darwin observed groups of finches on various islands. He noticed that the birds seemed to have developed physical and behavioral changes that better suited them for survival on their respective islands.

Darwin took his observations and developed the theory of natural selection . He proposed that certain traits become common in a population based on how well those traits help the organisms in a species survive and reproduce.

The traits that help organisms survive and reproduce are passed down from parent to offspring. Eventually, this process can lead to the development of new species. This long-term change in the characteristics of a species over many generations is evolution .     

Like every other species on the planet, humans have evolved over time.

In the example of birds above, those adaptive traits included beak size. However, evolutionary psychology aims to apply the principles of natural selection to understand why modern humans think and behave the way we do.       

Evolutionary psychology is set apart from other psychological disciplines because it typically explains human behavior through the lens of survival and reproduction.

Theories in Evolutionary Psychology

Two popular theories in evolutionary psychology include the sexual strategies theory and error management theory.

1. Sexual Strategies Theory

Sexual strategies theory proposes that humans have evolved different long and short-term mating strategies that may depend on many factors like culture and social context.

This theory focuses on similarities and differences in men’s and women’s mating preferences and strategies.

The theory proposes that women have inherited the trait of desiring mates who possess resources. In contrast, men have inherited the trait of desiring health.

Many factors, beyond resources or health, like culture, context, and personality, will influence who people choose to be their partners (Buss, 2023).

2. Error Management Theory

Error management theory (EMT) explains how we think, make decisions, and evaluate uncertain or novel situations.

We must make decisions constantly; some errors are more costly than others. EMT explains that we have evolved to make decisions that will result in less costly errors (Buss, 2023).

  • Explaining Perception in Infants . Some essential aspects of human behavior seem to be innate even early on. Cognitive functions, like perceiving a steep drop off or an object coming towards you, are present in infants. For example, infants are weary of steep drop-offs, even if they haven’t experienced a fall (Mealey, 2023).    
  • Explaining Mate Selection through Evolution . Much of evolutionary psychology is concerned with relationships since they are important to understanding reproduction. Some evolutionary psychology tries to explain why people prefer specific characteristics in other people – like facial symmetry.   
  • Explaining Human Emotion . Many emotions appear early in life and do not have to be learned. Evolutionary psychology suggests that emotions have evolved in response to selective pressures. For example, fear may have evolved to avoid potential threats to survival.
  • The Origins of Mental Health Problems . Behavioral traits like anxiety could have been adaptive in certain situations. For example, being worried and vigilant could have been very adaptive to survival and reproductive success if you lived in a time that involved many predators and dangers. However, too much anxiety could be maladaptive and harmful.
  • Understanding Parental Attachment . Attachment theory is well-established in developmental psychology. Human infants are very dependent on their parents, much more so than many other species. Evolutionary psychology, therefore, proposes that attachment between a parent and child has arisen due to its importance for survival and reproduction.  
  • Evolutionary Basis for Human Personality . Evolutionary psychology proposes that some personality traits, like aggression, have persisted since they were once valuable in competition for resources and mates.  
  • Explanation for Cooperation in Humans . Some people are more aggressive, while others are more agreeable and cooperative. Evolutionary psychology suggests that humans have evolved to be cooperative with others to increase their chances of survival. For example, cooperative behavior could have increased access to resources, reduced potentially harmful fighting, and increased help with childcare. 
  • Evolutionary Basis of Social Bonds . Humans are very social creatures. Evolutionary psychology proposes that humans have evolved to form strong social bonds because these bonds were important for gathering resources, taking care of each other, and surviving. 
  • Evolutionary Basis of Language . Human children start learning language and communication very early on. Evolutionary psychology proposes that language development occurs because the ability to communicate would have been useful for many activities that would have increased survival. For example, these activities could have involved warning others about danger, coordinating group activities, and passing along other useful information.
  • Explaining Behavioral Preferences through Evolution . Humans have many behavioral preferences. For example, many people enjoy what are now deemed “unhealthy” calorie-dense sweet and fatty foods. Evolutionary psychology would suggest that we have evolved preferences for these foods because these high-calorie foods were once particularly valuable sources of energy in our ancestral environment where food was often scarce. 

Criticisms of Evolutionary Biology

Human behavior is very complex and influenced by many biological, environmental, and cultural factors . Therefore, evolutionary psychology has faced some criticism and, like any psychological field, has important limitations to consider.

For example, many human behaviors persist that are not beneficial to survival and reproduction.

Additionally, we lack knowledge on the details of all the selection pressures humans could have faced over millions of years of evolution (Confer et al., 2010). This lack of knowledge and heavy reliance on theorizing leads to a lack of testability – we weren’t there to observe selective pressures millions of years ago.

As a result, we can’t directly test how those pressures may have shaped behavior.

Evolutionary psychology has also faced criticism for overemphasizing the role of biology in behavior.

However, we know that genetic and environmental influences are important to understand why humans differ from each other (Polderman et al., 2015).

The nature vs. nurture question that is so popular is somewhat misleading, as at this point, we know that nature and nurture are both essential and often interact with each other.

Other Types of Psychology

  • Biological Psychology – Biological psychology involves studying biological influences on behavior, thoughts, and emotions (Kalat, 2015).
  • Clinical Psychology – Clinical Psychology is a specialty in psychology that involves the practical application of psychological theories for treating psychological problems and disorders (Pomerantz, 2016).

Evolutionary psychologists operate under the assumption that human brain structures, functions, and mental capabilities evolved under natural selection in the same way that human bodies did (Mealey, 2023).

This would mean that the mental processes that underlie thought and behavior in humans exist now because they once helped human ancestors survive and reproduce.

Evolutionary psychological theories are applied to all human behavior, including emotions, personality, perception, and learning.

Buss, D. M. (2023). Evolutionary theories in psychology. In R. Biswas-Diener & E. Diener (Eds),  Noba textbook series: Psychology.  Champaign, IL: DEF publishers. Retrieved from

Confer, J. C., Easton, J. A., Fleischman, D. S., Goetz, C. D., Lewis, D. M. G., Perilloux, C., & Buss, D. M. (2010). Evolutionary psychology: Controversies, questions, prospects, and limitations. American Psychologist , 65 (2), 110–126.

Mealey, L. (2023). Evolutionary psychology. In Salem Press Encyclopedia of Health .

Polderman, T. J. C., Benyamin, B., de Leeuw, C. A., Sullivan, P. F., van Bochoven, A., Visscher, P. M., & Posthuma, D. (2015). Meta-analysis of the heritability of human traits based on fifty years of twin studies. Nature Genetics , 47 (7), 702–709.

Workman, L. (2004). Evolutionary psychology: An introduction . Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press.


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Glenn Geher Ph.D.

Evolutionary Psychology

A brief history of evolutionary psychology, from darwin to 2023..

Updated November 14, 2023 | Reviewed by Tyler Woods

  • Evolutionary psychology, as a field, can be traced back to Darwin's own work.
  • Several variants of evolutionary psychology have emerged on the scene over the decades.
  • Here is a brief timeline of the field—with an eye toward the future.

Trying to understand human behavior (a basic feature of our species, shaped by natural selection) without understanding evolutionary principles would be like trying to understand the details of a car without realizing that its purpose is to locomote. As several scholars, including myself, have maintained over the years, understanding evolution is simply essential for a full take on the human behavioral experience (see Evolutionary Psychology 101 ).


In an effort to help document some critical junctures that have shaped this area of inquiry, here is a brief* chronology of the field.

1859: Charles Darwin publishes On the Origins of the Species —showing the process of natural selection, evolution's primary process when it comes to the nature of life, to the world.

1872: Darwin publishes The Expression of Emotion of Man and Animals . Without question, his ideas in this book fully represent an evolutionary approach to human psychology. With Darwin's publications on evolutionary processes applied to psychological states, the field of evolutionary psychology was born.

1953: Niko Tinbergen and other behavioral scientists advance the Ethology movement, applying evolutionary principles, in a broad manner, to issues of animal behavior .

1964: William Hamilton demarcates the ideas of "inclusive fitness" and "kin-selected altruism " to help explain how evolutionary principles can shed light on prosocial (other-oriented) behavior.

Early 1970s: Robert Trivers published several seminal theoretical articles on the importance of parental investment in mating systems, reciprocal altruism, and parent/offspring conflict. These articles set the stage for the large-scale application of evolutionary principles to various facets of the behavioral experience.

1975: E. O. Wilson, of Harvard, publishes the book Sociobiology , about how evolution has shaped social behaviors across various species—our own species included. Not everyone loved the idea. But wow, this book pushed the needle in a big way.

1976: Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins published the groundbreaking book The Selfish Gene , which essentially presents Darwin's ideas for a relatively modern audience. The book focuses on the evolution of behavior in particular.

1980s-1990s: The Harvard Connection

As a then-junior faculty member, evolutionary psychologist David Buss (now at the University of Texas) took a position at Harvard University, which, as history would come to tell us, served as a hotbed for the cultivation of evolutionary behavioral science.

While not there at exactly the same time, evolutionary pugilists Steve Pinker (who was still in the early stages of applying evolutionary concepts in his work at that point) and Robert Trivers held positions at Harvard at nearly the same time. And importantly, Martin Daly and Margo Wilson held one-year sabbatical positions at Harvard while Buss was there, partly shaping this burgeoning epicenter of evolutionary thinking.

Concurrently, two thinkers who would eventually become major scholars in the field, Leda Cosmides and the late-great John Tooby, called Harvard home at the time. They both obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees while there and they learned about this budding young evolutionary thinker, David Buss, along the way.

Cosmides and Tooby later went on to marry and to, collaboratively, launch the Center for Evolutionary Psychology at UC Santa Barbara, which still operates as an internationally renowned hub of evolutionary scholarship to this day. They also introduced Buss to legendary Harvard evolutionary anthropologist, Irv Devore, during this time period. The connections and ideas regarding evolution and the human experience were percolating at full-force.

essay topics for evolutionary psychology

As Buss (2023) stated, this work by Cosmides and Tooby set the stage for the "develop[ment of] the conceptual foundations of evolutionary psychology, merging cognitive (science)/information processing with evolutionary theory."

Buss remained close friends with both Cosmides and Tooby. The effects all these scholars had on the advancement of evolutionary psychology have been nothing short of huge over the years.

Several other major evolutionists, such as E. O. Wilson, Ernst Mayr, and Paul Bingham, also called Harvard home during this general era.

1987-1990: Building the Foundations of Evolutionary Psychology

Between 1987 and 1990, at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, David Buss led an intellectual initiative designed to really demarcate the foundational concepts of evolutionary psychology. As part of this process, he built an all-star team of scholars, including Leda Cosmides, John Tooby, Martin Daly, and Margo Wilson. The group spent the better part of a year putting together a draft of a would-be textbook in the field of evolutionary psychology. At the end of the day, everyone went back to their full-time gigs at their respective universities, and the book never was completed. But the seeds of so many evolutionary projects that would become foundational in the field were sown.

1989: The Launching of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society (HBES)

Another landmark event for the field is found in the formation of the world's first (and currently largest) intellectual society dedicated to the study of human behavior and evolution (the Human Behavior and Evolution Society; HBES ).

With roots in the work of scholars who were stationed at Michigan at the time (including Bill Irons and Napoleon Chagnon at Northwestern and David Buss and Randy Nesse at the University of Michigan), the formal launching of HBES, with renowned evolutionary biologist, William Hamilton, as founding president and founder of the field of Darwinian Medicine, Randy Nesse playing a primary role in the formalization of the organization, was an instant hit. Among the invited speakers at this first meeting of the society were Richard Dawkins and William Hamilton. Highly revered evolutionary biologist George Williams was also a regular presence at the early meetings of HBES. To put things into perspective, in the field of evolutionary studies, these folks are nothing short of icons and the society was well on its way to making a splash right out of the gate.

1992: Jerome Barkow, Cosmides, and Tooby published The Adapted Mind , which would quickly become a classic in the field, paving the way for how the field of evolutionary psychology would proceed.

1992: Then-graduate-student Margie Profet publishes (partly in The Adapted Mind ) stunning work showing that pregnancy sickness, a basic feature of the broader human experience, can best be understood within an evolutionary framework. This piece paved the way for understanding all kinds of human phenomena from an evolutionary perspective.

1994: Buss publishes the first edition of The Evolution of Desire —an insightful treatise on how evolutionary principles shed light on all facets of the human mating experience. The influence of this book on thinking within the behavioral sciences has been profound and has proven as relevant to all kinds of human issues.

1994: Randy Nesse coins the term "Darwinian Psychiatry " and shows how powerfully evolutionary principles can be applied in the field of psychiatry specifically, as well as in medicine in general. He also coined the term "Darwinian Medicine" and has been a stalwart champion of integrating Darwinian ideas into all branches of medical science and practice.

1998: David Sloan Wilson, largely in an attempt to shed light on prosociality (the helping of others), posits the idea of multi-level selection , which underscores the fact that evolutionary forces are constantly working at multiple levels regarding the evolution of organisms—humans included.

1998: Buss publishes the first textbook titled Evolutionary Psychology . In a sense, the field (which had been brewing and steeping and churning for well over a century) was born.

2009 (or so): Scholars in all kinds of fields ( education , politics , mental health, nutrition , and more) start the large-scale application of evolution to address a number of human issues. This field sits under the umbrella of Applied Evolutionary Psychology, and it even has its own society (the Applied Evolutionary Psychology Society). Leaders of this initiative included the likes of Daniel Kruger, Nicholas Armenti, and Daniel Glass, along with several other key thinkers.

2009 (or so): A similar group of scholars works to integrate the often-disparate fields of evolutionary psychology and feminism, starting the Feminist Evolutionary Perspectives Society. Leaders of this initiative included Rosemarie Sokol, Maryanne Fisher, Justin Garcia, Rebecca Burch, Laura Johnsen, and others. Perhaps the most conspicuous product of this work is found in the book Evolution's Empress: Darwinian Perspectives on the Nature of Women .

Importantly, both AEPS and FEPS were spinoffs of the NorthEastern Evolutionary Psychology Society ( NEEPS ), which held its first conference on the campus at SUNY New Paltz in 2007 and featured David Sloan Wilson and Gordon Gallup as inaugural invited speakers.

2019 (or so): Multiple scholars (including myself and Nicole Wedberg— Positive Evolutionary Psychology: Darwin's Guide to Living a Richer Life ), Doug Kenrick and David Lundberg-Kenrick ( Solving Modern Problems with a Stone-Age Brain ), and David Sloan Wilson ( This View of Life )—among several others—work to apply evolutionary principles to the bright side of the human experience. In other words, there is currently a large international effort to use information from evolutionary psychology to help improve the broader human condition.

Bottom Line and the Future of Evolutionary Psychology

Importantly, the chronology presented here is limited at best. It is also noteworthy (as partly described prior) that several major regional, national, and international intellectual societies have formed over the years to help advance work in the field of evolutionary psychology (e.g., the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, the NorthEastern Evolutionary Psychology Society, International Society for Human Ethology, and more). Further, several major scholars whose work has been dedicated to evolutionizing certain subfields within psychology also warrant significant recognition (e.g., Gordon Gallup in terms of evolution connecting with neuroscience , David Bjorklund in terms of how evolution connects with developmental psychology, Peter Gray in terms of how evolution pertains to education, and more).

The above chronology hopefully sheds light on some of the critical historical markers of evolutionary psychology. In 2011, along with several collaborators (Garcia et al., 2011), we discussed the future of the field of evolutionary psychology in detail. On one hand, we found reason for optimism —for instance, we found that work in the field of evolutionary psychology shows all kinds of academic markers of being a truly interdisciplinary academic field. That said, our work, along with that of several others, has shown significant resistance to this way of thinking about the human behavioral condition within higher education.

In short, this powerful field of inquiry, which has demonstrated an extraordinary capacity to shed light on the human condition, has something of an uncertain future. Hopefully, articles like this one can help move the needle a bit and get people to think about how Darwin's big ideas might have the capacity to help make the world a better place. For all of us.

Note: This article was largely inspired by conversations with David Buss—and is dedicated to a pioneer in (and champion of) the field, the late Dr. John Tooby

*and hardly complete!

Barkow, J., Cosmides, L., & Tooby, J. (Eds.; 1992), The adapted mind: Evolutionary psychology and the generation` of culture. New York: Oxford University Press.

Buss, D. M. (November 10, 2023). Personal communication.

Buss, David M. (1994). The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating. New York: Basic Books.

Buss, D. M. (1998). Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind (1st Edition). New York: Allyn & Bacon.

Darwin, C. (1859). On the origin of species by means of natural selectionor the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life (1st ed.). London, UK: John Murray.

Darwin, C. (1872). The expression of the emotions in man and animals. London, UK: John Murray.

Dawkins, R. (1976). The Selfish Gene. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

JR Garcia, G Geher, B Crosier, G Saad, D Gambacorta, L Johnsen & E Pranckitas. (2011). The interdisciplinary context of evolutionary approaches to human behavior: a key to survival in the ivory archipelago. Futures , 43, 749-761.

Geher, G. (2014). Evolutionary Psychology 101. New York: Springer.

Geher, G. & Wedberg, N. (2022). Positive Evolutionary Psychology: Darwin’s Guide to Living a Richer Life. New York: Oxford University Press.

Hamilton W.D. (1964). "The genetical evolution of social behaviour. I" J. Theor. Biol. 7, 1–16.

Profet, M. (1992). Pregnancy Sickness as Adaptation: A Deterrent to Maternal Ingestion of Teratogens. The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture. Oxford University Press. pp. 327–365.

Tinbergen, N. 1953. The Herring Gull's World . London: Collins.

Trivers, R. L. 1971. The evolution of reciprocal altruism. Quarterly Review of Biology 46:35-57.

Trivers, R. L. 1972. Parental investment and sexual selection. In B. Campbell, ed. Sexual Selection and the Descent of

Man, 1871-1971, Aldine-Atherton, Chicago, pp. 136-179.

Trivers, R. L. 1974. Parent-offspring conflict. American Zoologist 14:247-262.

Wilson, D. S. (1998). Hunting, sharing and multilevel selection: The tolerated theft model revisited. Current Anthropology , 39 , 73–97.

Wilson, E. O., (1975). Sociobiology: The New Synthesis , Harvard University Press.

Glenn Geher Ph.D.

Glenn Geher, Ph.D. , is professor of psychology at the State University of New York at New Paltz. He is founding director of the campus’ Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) program.

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Psychology Discussion

Essay on evolutionary psychology: top 6 essays | psychology.


Here is an essay on ‘Evolutionary Psychology’ for class 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short essays on ‘Evolutionary Psychology’ especially written for school and college students.

Essay on Evolutionary Psychology

Essay Contents:

  • Essay on the Principles of Evolutionary Psychology

Essay # 1. Social Behaviour of Apes:

Evolutionary psychology is ripe with examples from the animal world. Usually, a number of species, many of them quite distant to we humans, are used with each species illustrating a basic principle.

Let us depart from this formula by first examining thumbnail sketches of the social organization, mating styles, and aggression of the three great apes that are our genetically closest relatives—gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos. By comparing and contrasting the behaviour of these three species, we can illustrate many of the major issues of evolutionary psychology.

i. Gorillas:

A gorilla community is dominated by a single adult male silverback, although sometimes the silverback will allow a good buddy or two to share his reign. The rest of the group consists of several adult females and their juvenile and adolescent offspring. The silverback(s) vigorously defend their harem against the attempts of single males to entice away one or more of the breeding females.

Young adult males almost always leave their natal group and try to gather a harem of their own. Life is tough for the bachelor. He will either wander alone or join several other bachelors and form a group of their own. Gathering a harem is not easy. By dumb luck, an old silverback may die and the closest bachelor, after fending off attempts by rival males, may claim most of the harem.

More typically, however, the male collects a female at a time by challenging a silverback in an established group and luring a female away. As a result, most males do not mate while the lucky few sire a large number of offspring.

Gorilla mating begins when a female enters estrus. In response to hormones, her labia change colour and swell, and the females “present” their bottoms to the adult male(s) of the group. Because of the social structure, the female gorilla mates only with the silverback(s) in the group. In such a system, paternity is assured—if the father is not the dominant male, then it is his best buddy.

Although gorillas are remarkably peaceful in general, males engage in infanticide in two situations. The first is when a male gains a new female or takes over a whole troop. Here, he will often kill all the infants of his new mate(s). The second situation is more insidious. A male may invade an established harem and kill an infant, despite an aggressive defense from the silverback and the infant’s mother.

When this occurs, a strange phenomenon takes place—within a few days, the infant’s mother will abandon her group and take up with the strange male who killed her offspring! While a human mother would plot murderous revenge, the gorilla mother prefers to desert a male who proved incapable of defending her infant in favour of another male who is more likely to protect her future infants. For the killer, this type of infanticide is a tactic to gain a mating female.

ii. Chimpanzees:

Chimps are organized into communities centered on a cadre of adult males. Males remain within the troop into which they are born and forge strong social bonds with one another. They will travel together, groom one another, and aggregate into opportunistic hunting parties.

Although power politics and alliances are a way of life among the males in a chimp community, the males of a group unite against the males in neighbouring communities. They actively patrol their own groups’ territory to prevent incursion, and they form “party gangs” to raid a neighbouring chimp community in order to kill a male or abduct a female.

Females emigrate from their natal community and become associated with another group of males. Females do not bond with other females or with males as strongly as the males of a troop bond to one another, and they live in home ranges that overlap the troop’s territory. In the dominance hierarchy within the group, all the adult males are invariably dominant to the females.

According to Wrangham and Petersona young male “enters the world of adult males by being systematically brutal toward each female in turn until he has dominated all of them. … In a typical interaction, he might charge at the female, hit her, kick her, pull her off balance, jump on top of her huddled and screaming form, slap her, lift her and slam her to the ground, and charge off again.”

Like gorillas, chimp mating begins with estrus and has three forms. The first and most typical form is for the female to mate promiscuously and frequently with virtually every male in her group. In the second form, which often occurs close to ovulation, one of the high-ranking males may form a short-term, possessive bond with the female.

Here, the male will remain close to the female and use combinations of threats and aggression to discourage her from leaving and to prevent subordinate males from copulating. Both the promiscuous and possessive forms can take place within a single estrous period. The third and rarest form is the consortship.

Like gorillas, male chimps may practice infanticide when a new female joins their group with an infant. Males will gang up on the new female and despite her defense, eventually rip the infant away from her, take it to a secluded area, and kill it.

Essay # 2. Human Social Organization and Mating:

To illustrate predispositions and constraints shaped by evolution, let us compare human social organization, mating patterns, and aggression to those of gorillas, chimps, and bonobos. Imagine, for the moment, the college-aged men and women belonging to a human culture that followed the pattern of gorillas.

There could be sororities and fraternities, of course, but they would take a decidedly different form. Each sorority would be small and headed by a mature adult male who would jealously guard his harem and their offspring from contact with any other college male. In order to keep his females under eye, the male would probably demand that they all take the same classes that he takes.

Perhaps two or three different harem groups may share the same classroom, but there would probably be physical barriers in the room to prevent them from interacting. Otherwise, the males would disrupt the class by their displays, posturing, games of one-upmanship, and even overt aggression to prevent any female in their harem from leaving and/or to entice another female into joining their harem.

Each coed would feel that is quite natural to have sex with the male and have him as the father of her children. Although there may be squabbles among the women, there would be no possessiveness or jealousy about sharing him with the others. Both the male and the females may feel physical and perhaps even emotional attraction to one another. However, the concept of casually dating someone else would never even cross anyone’s mind.

Males without a harem would either live solitary lives or join together into an all-male fraternity. Bachelor males could easily take classes with other bachelor males, but to maintain order, the college would prohibit bachelors from taking courses with harems. If a harem master gets a bit long in the tooth, a bachelor will engage in repeated displays of dominance and aggression with him in order to drive him away and take over the women. If the bachelor succeeds, the females will not follow their former mate and father of their children. They will placidly go with the victor, have sex with him, and have his children.

There would be continual games of dominance between the bachelors and a harem male as he leads his harem and children across campus. Sometimes a bachelor might find a female and her infant isolated from the main group. Here, he might grab and kill the infant despite vigorous protests and attacks from the mother.

It may take a few days for the female to get over this event, but soon she would find herself attracted to her child’s killer and will leave her own harem group to join up with him. There would be no charges of murder or any disciplinary action from the university. The bachelor is doing what any reasonable unattached male would do to try to get a mate.

Now imagine a different scenario. Again, let us again consider collegiate life, but this time, one organized on the basis of the chimpanzee. Here, there are no dominant males with their harems. Instead, there would be very strong fraternities with fierce—perhaps even murderous—rivalries among them.

Sororities, if there were any, would have poor internal organization compared to the fraternities. In general, the women would act a bit more as loners while the males would almost always be found with their buds. Each sorority would be strongly associated with a fraternity.

A coed would go through cycles of heat and sexual abstinence. As she enters heat, the guys would pay closer attention to her and quarrel among themselves to get near her. Although she might prefer some males to others, she would find it very natural to have sex repeatedly with all the frat boys.

She must be careful in spurning someone’s advances; if she protests too much, she may be beaten and raped. As ovulation nears, one of the more dominant males might try to sequester her for himself by challenging any subordinate who tries to mate with her. He may be successful for a while, but he usually fails to inhibit her promiscuity—after all, he cannot guard her 24 hours a day. If she becomes pregnant, she will not know who the father was.

Essay # 3. Inclusive Fitness and Kin Selection:

Sometimes, mothering ring-neck pheasants perform a marvelous act of self-sacrifice. If a large animal trod too close to her nest, she will make a great deal of noise and run through the field flapping her wings. The safest course of action for her is to be silent, run a few steps to build up the momentum for flight and then soar away.

Yet she makes herself deliberately conspicuous to a potential predator and is sometimes caught in the process. Prairie dogs also show similar behaviour. When a raptor soars overhead or a land based predator approaches the colony, the prairie dogs who initially spot the threat stand upright on their hind legs and issue a series of loud barks that act as alarm codes for their colony mates to run post haste to their boroughs. This behaviour assists the colony as a whole, but at the expense of making the signaller conspicuous to the predator.

These are examples of altruism, a behaviour that can reduce the reproductive fitness of the altruist but increase the fitness of conspecifics. Ever since Darwin’s time, altruism posed a problem for natural selection. Certainly any heritable behaviour that reduced fitness should decrease over time.

Just consider a prairie dog colony that consists of 50% altruists and 50% cheats. When a cheater spots a predator, he hightails it to the nearest borough. The odds that the predator eats an altruist are slightly increased because the cheater has just removed one of his own kind from the denominator of vulnerable prairie dogs.

When the altruist spies the threat, she announces her position to the predator and places herself in danger. Both the other altruists and the cheaters benefit, but if anyone is to be devoured, it is once again more likely to be the altruist than the cheater.

Using mathematical models, Hamilton showed that altruism could evolve when altruistic genotypes preferentially benefit other altruistic genotypes over cheater genotypes. The clearest way for an altruistic genotype to do this is to have mechanisms that bias it to work altruistically for close genetic relatives.

Hamilton’s work presented the twin ideas of inclusive fitness and kin selection. Inclusive fitness is defined as the fitness of an individual along with the fitness of close relatives. Your inclusive fitness would be a weighted sum of your own reproductive fitness, that of your first-degree relatives, second degree relatives, etc.

Kin selection refers to implication of inclusive fitness that natural selection can work on the close genetic relatives of the organism actually performing the behaviour. In a loose sense, fitness can be expressed in terms of kinships just as we have seen it being expressed in terms of genotypes, phenotypes, and individuals.

Inclusive fitness and kin selection have been used to explain different human behaviours. The very fact that we humans recognize and pay close attention to genealogy may reflect a cognitive mechanism developed through evolution that helps in kin recognition.

The phrase “blood is thicker than water” has been interpreted as a realistic description of human emotions and behaviours that preferentially benefit kin over others. Several aspects of altruistic parental behaviour may have evolved through kin selection. Continual themes in fiction portray noble parents shielding their young children from potential harm, but evil stepparents threatening their stepchildren.

Daly and Wilson have pointed out how familial homicide patterns agree quite well with kin selection. Although rare, parents do murder a child, but the perpetrator of such a heinous act is much more likely to be a stepparent than a biological parent. Despite the hyperbolic threat “do that again and I’ll kill you” echoed by many a frustrated parent, very few parents ever even contemplate homicide when it comes to their offspring. The inhibition of homicide is not restricted to parents and their offspring.

Ask yourself the following two questions – “In your whole lifetime, which person has shouted at you and hit you the most?” and “Which person have you yelled at and fought with the most?” If you respond like most people, then you will nominate a brother or sister. Yet fratricide is very rare. Humans are much more likely to kill a spouse than an offspring or sibling.

Essay # 4. Reciprocity and Cooperation:

A close cousin to inclusive fitness is the concept of reciprocity and cooperation, sometimes called reciprocal altruism. Traditionally, inclusive fitness and kin selection have been used to refer to altruism towards genetic relatives.

Reciprocity and cooperation deal with behaviour that requires some “sacrifice” but also has beneficial consequences between conspecifics who are not necessarily genetic relatives. Hence, the target of the behaviour—a genetic relative versus another conspecific—distinguishes inclusive fitness from reciprocity/cooperation.

To understand reciprocity and the problem it posed for evolutionists, we must once again consider cheaters. Lions and wolves hunt large prey cooperatively. Although it is mentioned infrequently on the nature shows, chasing, grabbing, and killing large prey is not a safe enterprise.

Zebras kick and bite, wildebeest have horns, and caribou have antlers, so predators can be hurt, sometimes even mortally so, in the hunt. Imagine a cheating lioness who approaches the prey only after it is dead. Would not her behaviour be advantageous? She can participate in the feast but avoids the risk of injury.

If cheating has a selective advantage, then would it not eventually result in the extinction of cooperative hunting? Another problem is how cooperative hunting ever got started in the first place. Most feline predators like the lynx, tiger, cheetah, leopard, and jaguar, make a perfectly fine living at solitary hunting. Why did lions ever develop cooperation?

According to Trivers cooperation cannot evolve alone. It must be accompanied with mechanisms that detect and reward mutual cooperators and detect and punish cheaters. Consider grooming in primates. It serves the very useful function of eliminating large parasites (fleas, lice, etc.) from a hairy monkey or ape.

Imagine that you are a chimp and that a fellow chimp, Clyde, is continually presenting himself to you to be groomed. Being the nice chimp that you are, you groom Clyde every time that he requests it. After a while, however, you notice something peculiar. Whenever you present yourself to Clyde for grooming, he refuses.

Ask yourself how you truly feel about this situation and how you are likely to respond to Clyde’s future presentations. Again, if you are like most people, when Clyde presents to you, you would feel some form of negative emotion that could range from mild exasperation to downright contempt, depending on the type of chimp you are. At some point, you are also likely to refuse to groom Clyde. Evolutionary psychologists would say that this is your “cheat detection and punishment” mechanism in action.

Reciprocity evolves when reciprocity and cheating can be recognized or anticipated and then acted upon. If your roommate, Mary, is cramming for her physics exam, you are likely to bake some banana bread for her when you suspect that Mary will do something nice for you on the eve of your big chemistry exam next week.

But if Mary were the type of roommate who clutters and trashes the place leaving you to do all the cleaning up, then you are likely to feel irritated and aggravated at her. No banana bread tonight! We feel that it is right and just that everyone does their fair share, and as parents, we spend considerable time and effort inculcating this ethos into our children.

One of the strengths of the modern evolutionists is their ability to uncover subtle and non-obvious phenomenon that fit better with evolutionary theory than other theory. You were correct to express skepticism of the Mary example— after all, there is really no way to determine the relative influences of a biologically soft wired “cheat detector” and your upbringing on the behaviour. But consider the following example, taken from Pinker.

Essay # 5. Parental Investment:

Robert Trivers, who first explicated reciprocity and cooperation, also gave us parental investment theory. This theory states that in any species the parent (male or female) that invests the most time, energy, and resources on its offspring will be the choosier mate.

The theory begins by asking the fundamental question of why many species act finicky in choosing mates. Most evolutionists explain mate preferences as mechanisms that genes have developed in organisms to assist in their own (i.e., the genes own) replication.

Triver’s theory maintains that the fastidiousness of mate preferences will be stronger in the sex that expends the most resources in producing offspring. Ordinarily, this will be the female because biologists define a female as the sex of a species that produces the larger gamete. The sex that produces the larger gamete produces fewer of those gametes. Hence, each gamete is more “precious” in a reproductive sense.

In mammals, the female expends more resources on offspring than the male. Fertilization in mammals is internal to the female, offspring development takes place in the female’s uterus, and the female must suckle the infant for a significant period of time. Hence, female mammals should be choosier mates than the males. Indeed, this is always the case.

In species where one sex competes for mating, males compete with other males for the opportunity of having sex with females. Females do not butt heads with each other for the opportunity of mating with any random guy in the herd.

Even in chimps and bonobos, where mating is largely promiscuous, every male in a troop tries quite hard to have a go at any female in estrus. Whenever one sex shuns a mating attempt, it is the female shunning a male and not a male shunning a female.

Parental investment theory, along with the concept of certainty of parenthood, has been used to explain many different types of human mate preferences. Females must commit nine months to pregnancy and then, before the advent of manufactured baby formula, more than a year to feeding a single offspring.

Even if a woman conceived after her first menstruation, she could bear one child per year until menopause, and the most likely number of offspring for a female during most of human evolution was probably no more than five. A human male, on the other hand, has the potential of fathering a baby every single day after puberty.

Female humans are biologically constrained to devote considerable resources to a single offspring; human males lack such constraints. Hence, human females should have more discriminating mate preferences than males.

A litany of empirical observations is used to support of this conclusion. Certainly in our Western cultures, anecdotal observations agree with it. Males are more ready than females to engage in anonymous sex, even to the point of paying for it. Women report more sexual advances made on them by men than men report sexual advances initiated by women.

Consider the following questions—how long would you have to know someone before feeling comfortable going out on a date with that person, and how long would you have to know someone before getting married? Both males and females have similar time frames—a short time frame for dating and a longer one for matrimony.

Now consider this question—how long would you have to know someone before having sex? The average woman picks a time frame somewhere between dating and marriage. Males pick a time frame shorter than dating.

This account of human parental investment, however, faces a real problem—why should men ever stick around at all? If sleeping around with as many women as possible maximizes the reproductive fitness of the genes in a male organism, why would these genes ever develop mechanisms that predispose a man to settle down with a woman? The evolutionists answer to this is that it effectively “takes two to tango.”

Just like the peacock’s tail, men’s behaviour is influenced by women’s mate preferences. If mutations arose that influenced women to prefer men who stuck around, and if there were men who actually did stick around, and if the pairing between this type of woman and this type of man had high reproductive fitness, then females who prefer stabile males would increase in frequency as will males who actually remain stabile.

Essay # 6. Principles of Evolutionary Psychology:

Several decades ago, American psychology held several laws of learning as sacred. One law was equipotentiality and it stated that an organism could learn to associate any stimulus to any response with equal ease. The classic example is Pavlov’s dog who, according to this law, could have learned to associate a bright light to the food as easily as it learned to associate the bell with food.

The two stimuli, light and bell, are equipotent in the sense that given the same learning parameters, both could eventually lead the dog to salivate. A second law was temporal contiguity. This law stated that the presentation of a novel stimulus with a learned stimulus must occur quickly in time. In Pavlov’s case, the food must be presented shortly after the bell was rung in order for learning to occur.

The dog never would learn to salivate to the bell if the food were presented three days after the bell. The third and final law was practice—it took many trials before the behaviour was fully learned.

These laws begin to crumble after a series of fortuitous studies in the 1950s and 1960s by the psychologist John Garcia and his colleagues. Garcia’s initial interest centered on the behavioural effects of low doses of radiation.

In the experimental paradigm, rats were placed into a special chamber for a relatively long time while they were exposed to a constant amount of low level X-ray radiation. To keep the rats healthy, the chamber was equipped with water bottles containing saccharin-flavoured water.

Garcia and his colleagues noticed three important things:

(i) As expected, the rats became sick from the doses of X-rays;

(ii) Quite unexpectedly, the rats stopped drinking the sweetened water; and

(iii) The rats needed no practice to avoid the water—they learned after one and only one trial.

Garcia’s genius consisted in asking one simple question, “Why should these rats avoid drinking the water when the learning situation violated the accepted laws of learning?” According to the Pavlovian tradition, the unconditioned response (sickness) occurred several hours after the conditioned stimulus (sweetened water).

This clearly violated the law of temporal contiguity because the paring of sweetened water and sickness did not occur within a short time interval. Second, there was no need for practice. Most rats learned to avoid the water a single trial.

Garcia abandoned his initial interest in radiation poisoning to focus on this peculiar phenomenon of learning. His general results and conclusions are illustrated by the study of Garcia and Koelling. Here, rats were assigned to one of four groups in a two by two-factorial design.

The first factor was the sensory quality of water given to the rats—it could either be coloured with a food dye and oxygenated with bubbles (coloured, bubbly water) or mixed with saccharin (sweetened water).

The rats in the coloured, bubbly water/shock group eventually learned to avoid drinking the water, albeit after a number of trials. This accords well with the established laws of learning at the time. Rats shocked after drinking sweetened water, however, failed to learn avoidance within the time limit of the study. This fact clearly violated the established law of equipotentiality under which sweetness should lead to just as much avoidance as the visually coloured water.

Curiously, the effect of making the rats sick had showed the opposite pattern. Rats made sick by the coloured water had a difficult time learning to avoid it while rats sickened by lithium learned to avoid the water after one trial. The coloured-water/lithium group followed the established laws of learning because sickness did not occur in temporal contiguity with the water. The sweetened-water/ lithium group, on the other hand, violated the laws just as much as those rats made sick by X-rays did.

The current explanation for this curious state of affairs is that the laws of learning depend importantly on the biological predisposition of a species. The rat has evolved into a highly olfactory creature that perceives the world in terms of smell and taste. Indeed, rat colonies develop a characteristic smell that is used to recognize colony mates and identify intruders.

Rats are also scavengers who dine on a surprisingly wide variety of organic material. Because they locate food though smell, they are especially attracted to rotting fruit, vegetable, and animal matter because of its pungent odour. Rotting food, however, poses a problem for digestion because it can create sickness when it is too far gone.

Rats react to their food in a peculiar way. When a rat locates a novel food source, he seldom gobbles it all up. Instead, he will nibble a little bit of it, go way for several hours, and then return. The rat may repeat this another time or two—a quick taste, a lengthy departure, and then a return—but soon he will return and gorge on the food.

Interestingly, if an experimenter laces the original food source with enough poison to make the rat sick but not enough to kill him, the rat may return but will not eat the food any more. It is usually a quick, one trial learning experience.

Evolutionary psychologists speculate that rats evolved a biological predisposition and a behavioural repertoire to avoid rotting foods that may make them ill. At some point rats that nibbled at a novel food source out-reproduced those who gobbled the whole thing down, presumably because the gobbling strategy had a high probability of incapacitation or even death through sickness.

Similarly, rats who nibbled and learned quickly out-reproduced those who nibbled but took a long time to learn. And what sensory cues would the rat use to bad food from good food? Most likely they would be olfactory cues.

In this way, rats in the Garcia and Koelling study would easily learn to associate an olfactory cue (water sweetness) with eventual sickness but would have a harder time associating a visual cue (coloured, bubbly water) with sickness. Rats who learned to avoid sweetened water when they became sick were biologically predisposed to learn this and to learn it quickly.

Proponents of this interpretation of the data are quick to point out the role reversal that happens in different species. Birds, who are highly visual like us humans, associate visual cues with sickness with the ease that rats learn about olfactory cues and illness. Birds will readily learn to avoid, say, blue food pellets and eat red pellets. When presented with a novel pellet that is half blue and half red, the bird will peck at the middle, break the pellet in two, and then eat the red half.

The general phenomenon has now come to be called prepared learning or biological constraints on learning, a hypothesis that was initially proposed in 1911 by the famous learning theorist, E.L. Thorndike, but was ignored by later researchers. The prepared or constrained part of the learning process is due to the biology that has been evolutionarily bequeathed to a species.

Human Fears and Phobias From the perspective of evolutionary psychology, fear and panic—like most of our emotions—should be viewed as adaptive responses. They may be unpleasant to experience, but they serve the useful function of prompting us to avoid dangerous situations and/ or to energize our bodies for fight or flight.

The relationship between fear and adaptiveness resembles the inverted U- shaped function of stabilizing selection. In general, it is good to be in the middle of distribution. Too little fear could lead to maladaptive risk-taking while too much fear might incapacitate a person.

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Psychology Essay Topics

Betty P.

Get Inspired with Over 200 Psychology Essay Topics and Writing Tips

14 min read

Published on: May 2, 2023

Last updated on: Jan 30, 2024

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Are you struggling to come up with interesting and unique psychology essay topics? Do you find it challenging to write a compelling psychology essay that stands out from the rest?

Psychology is a fascinating subject. However, selecting a topic that is both engaging and informative can be a daunting task.

But fear not!

This blog provides a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the world of psychology essay topics. From general psychology topics to specific and interesting areas of research, we have got you covered. Additionally, we offer tips to help you write a successful essay, from choosing a topic to editing your final draft.

By the end of it, you will be able to write a standout psychology essay that fully showcases your understanding.

Let's dive in!

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Psychology Research Topics For High School Students

Here is a persuasive essay topics list to get you started:

  • The influence of social media on mental health
  • The psychology of dreams and their interpretations
  • Effects of stress on academic performance
  • Does childhood trauma impact mental health in adulthood, and if so, how?
  • How does meditation impact the brain and promote well-being?
  • Why do we make the choices we do, and how can we make better decisions?
  • How does spending time in nature impact mental health and well-being?
  • How does perception affect our interpretation of reality, and can it be changed
  • The power of music on human emotions and behavior
  • The relationship between exercise and mental health

 Psychology Paper Topics For College Students

  • The psychology of addiction and effective treatments.
  • The impact of childhood experiences on adult mental health.
  • The psychology of prejudice and how to overcome biases.
  • The role of emotions in decision-making and behavior.
  • The effects of sleep deprivation on cognitive function and well-being.
  • Effective leadership traits and development.
  • The psychology of procrastination: Why we do it and how to overcome it.
  • The impact of social support on mental health.
  • The effects of mindfulness on stress and anxiety.
  • The psychology of motivation: What drives our behavior and how to stay motivated.

Research Topics In Psychology For University Students

  • The effects of social media on self-esteem and body image.
  • The impact of childhood trauma on brain development and function.
  • The psychology of happiness: What makes us happy and how can we cultivate it?
  • The role of genetics in mental health disorders and treatment implications.
  • How does social media affect self-esteem and body image?
  • What is the impact of childhood trauma on brain development and function?
  • What makes us happy and how can we cultivate happiness?
  • The psychology of mindfulness: Benefits and applications for well-being.
  • The impact of cultural differences on cognitive processes and behavior.
  • What are the dynamics of attraction, attachment, and relationships in the psychology of love?

Social Psychology Essay Topics

  • How do social roles and expectations affect behavior?
  • What is the role of social identity in intergroup relations?
  • How do attitudes and persuasion shape behavior?
  • What are the psychological factors that influence conformity?
  • What is the impact of social comparison on self-esteem?
  • The influence of culture on social behavior
  • The role of empathy in social interactions
  • The impact of social exclusion on mental health
  • The effects of social comparison on body image
  • The psychology of altruism and helping behavior

Forensic Psychology Essay Topics

  • How can forensic psychology contribute to criminal profiling?
  • What is the impact of psychological factors on criminal behavior?
  • How do juries make decisions in criminal cases, and what role does psychology play?
  • What is the impact of false confessions on the criminal justice system?
  • How can forensic psychologists help prevent and treat juvenile delinquency?
  • The psychology of criminal behavior and decision-making
  • The use of psychological assessment in criminal trials
  • The role of media in shaping public perceptions of crime
  • The impact of trauma on criminal behavior
  • The psychology of witness testimony

Criminal Psychology Essay Topics

  • How do psychological factors contribute to the development of criminal behavior?
  • What is the impact of childhood experiences on criminal behavior?
  • How can criminal psychology contribute to the prevention and treatment of criminal behavior?
  • What is the relationship between mental health and criminal behavior?
  • How can criminal profiling be used to aid criminal investigations?
  • The psychology of white-collar crime
  • The use of forensic psychology in criminal investigations
  • The impact of incarceration on mental health
  • The effectiveness of rehabilitation programs for offenders
  • The psychology of recidivism

Cognitive Psychology Essay Topics

  • How do cognitive processes shape our perceptions and decisions?
  • What are the neural mechanisms underlying cognitive processes such as attention and memory?
  • How do emotions and motivation affect cognitive processing?
  • What is the relationship between language and thought?
  • What is the impact of cognitive biases on decision-making?
  • The role of cognitive development in learning and education
  • The impact of technology on cognitive processing
  • The psychology of creativity and problem-solving
  • The effects of sleep on cognitive function
  • The psychology of expertise and skill acquisition

Developmental Psychology Essay Topics

  • How do genetics and the environment interact to shape development?
  • What are the stages of cognitive and emotional development in childhood and adolescence?
  • What is the impact of parenting styles on child development?
  • How do cultural differences impact child development?
  • What are the effects of early adversity on later development?
  • The psychology of attachment and bonding
  • The impact of technology on child development
  • The effects of divorce and separation on child development
  • The psychology of adolescent identity development
  • The role of play in child development

Abnormal Psychology Essay Topics

  • The impact of childhood trauma on the development of dissociative disorders
  • The role of genetics in the development of schizophrenia
  • The link between eating disorders and body image dissatisfaction
  • The impact of addiction on mental health
  • The effectiveness of psychotherapy for treating personality disorders
  • The relationship between anxiety and depression in bipolar disorder
  • The impact of trauma on the development of obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • The role of cognitive-behavioral therapy in treating phobias
  • The impact of culture on the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness
  • The effectiveness of mindfulness-based therapies for treating anxiety and depression

Child Psychology Essay Topics

  • The impact of attachment styles on child development
  • The role of play therapy in treating childhood trauma
  • The impact of parenting styles on adolescent mental health
  • The role of technology in children's social and emotional development
  • The impact of peer relationships on child development
  • The effectiveness of early intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder
  • The impact of divorce on child development
  • The role of schools in supporting children's mental health
  • The impact of childhood bullying on mental health in adolescence and adulthood
  • The effectiveness of family therapy in treating childhood anxiety and depression

Sports Psychology Essay Topics

  • The role of mental toughness in athletic performance
  • The impact of anxiety on sports performance
  • The relationship between goal setting and athletic success
  • The impact of visualization techniques on sports performance
  • The role of self-talk in athletic performance
  • The impact of team cohesion on athletic performance
  • The relationship between personality traits and sports performance
  • The impact of pre-performance routines on sports performance
  • The role of coaching in supporting athletes' mental health
  • The effectiveness of psychological skills training in improving athletic performance

Argumentative Psychology essay topics

  • Is intelligence innate or acquired?
  • Should psychotherapy be used as a first-line treatment for mental illness?
  • Is the use of medication in treating mental illness over-prescribed?
  • Is social media use linked to increased rates of anxiety and depression?
  • Is addiction a disease or a choice?
  • Should personality disorders be treated differently than other mental illnesses?
  • Is the use of restraints ethical in mental health treatment?
  • Is it ethical to use animals in psychological research?
  • Should parents be held responsible for their children's mental health?
  • Is there a link between childhood trauma and criminal behavior?

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Descriptive Psychology Essay Topics

  • The history and evolution of psychoanalytic theory
  • The role of culture in shaping our understanding of mental illness
  • The impact of attachment theory on contemporary psychology
  • The development of cognitive psychology as a discipline
  • The role of social psychology in understanding human behavior
  • The impact of behaviorism on modern psychology
  • The role of neuroscience in understanding mental illness
  • The development of positive psychology as a field
  • The impact of feminist psychology on contemporary practice
  • The role of evolutionary psychology in understanding human behavior

Biological Psychology Essay Topics

  • The role of genetics in addiction and substance abuse
  • The impact of hormonal changes on mood disorders
  • Neural mechanisms underlying decision making
  • The effect of sleep deprivation on brain function
  • The link between brain development and mental health disorders
  • The role of neurotransmitters in regulating emotions and behavior
  • The impact of stress on the immune system
  • The relationship between diet and brain function
  • The biological basis of schizophrenia
  • The role of epigenetics in mental health disorders

Controversial Psychology Essay Topics

  • The Ethics of using placebos in clinical trials
  • The Validity of repressed memories in Therapy
  • The controversy surrounding conversion therapy
  • The debate over the existence of multiple personality disorder
  • The controversy surrounding the use of medication to treat ADHD
  • The ethics of using animals in psychological research
  • The controversy surrounding the validity of personality tests
  • The debate over the use of cognitive enhancement drugs
  • The controversy surrounding the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder
  • The debate over the use of hypnosis in therapy

Cultural Psychology Essay Topics

  • The impact of cultural values on mental health treatment
  • Cross-cultural differences in emotion regulation
  • The role of cultural norms in shaping attitudes towards mental health disorders
  • The impact of acculturation on mental health
  • The role of cultural values in shaping parenting styles
  • Cross-cultural differences in attachment styles
  • The influence of culture on body image and eating disorders
  • The impact of cultural values on the experience of depression
  • The role of culture in shaping perceptions of happiness
  • The impact of cultural diversity on group dynamics

Good Psychology Essay Topics

  • The importance of social support for mental health
  • The benefits of mindfulness meditation for stress reduction
  • The role of exercise in improving mental health
  • The impact of gratitude on well-being
  • The role of humor in coping with stress
  • The benefits of nature exposure for mental health
  • The impact of social media on mental health and well-being
  • The benefits of expressive writing for emotional processing
  • The role of positive self-talk in building resilience
  • The impact of volunteering on mental health and well-being

Exciting Psychology Essay Topics

  • The psychology of thrill-seeking behavior
  • The impact of virtual reality on behavior and cognition
  • The relationship between music and mood
  • The psychology of conspiracy theories
  • The impact of social comparison on self-esteem
  • The psychology of persuasion and influence
  • The role of culture in shaping perceptions of beauty
  • The psychology of color and its effects on behavior
  • The impact of humor on creativity and problem-solving
  • The psychology of flow and peak performance

Psychology Essay Topics on Dreams

  • Why do we dream? The scientific and psychological explanations.
  • Can we control our dreams? The effectiveness and limitations of lucid dreaming.
  • The interpretation of dreams: Freudian theory vs. modern approaches.
  • The role of dreams in problem-solving and creativity.
  • How dreams impact our mental health and well-being.
  • The use of dream analysis in therapy: Benefits and limitations.
  • Nightmares: Causes, effects, and treatments.
  • The cultural significance of dreams and dream interpretation.
  • Sleep disorders and their impact on dreaming.
  • The ethical considerations of using dream manipulation for personal gain.

Psychology-Related Topics from Other Subjects

  • The intersection of psychology and neuroscience
  • The relationship between psychology and economics
  • The psychology of decision making in politics
  • The psychology of leadership and organizational behavior
  • The impact of technology on social psychology
  • The psychology of marketing and consumer behavior
  • The relationship between psychology and law
  • The psychology of education and learning
  • The impact of environmental factors on behavior
  • The psychology of creativity and innovation

 Psychology Paper Topics for Any Assignment

  • The influence of video games on cognitive development
  • A case study analysis of borderline personality disorder
  • The role of cognitive psychology in treating depression
  • Historical perspectives on the evolution of cognitive psychology
  • Analyzing the impact of social media on mental health
  • An exploration of the psychology behind addiction
  • A comparative analysis of Freudian and Jungian theories of personality
  • Investigating the effects of mindfulness on anxiety disorders
  • The role of positive psychology in promoting well-being
  • A case study on the effects of childhood trauma on adult mental health
  • Examining the link between physical health and mental health
  • An overview of various psychological disorders and their treatment options
  • The role of cognitive-behavioral therapy in treating anxiety
  • Analyzing the use of art therapy in treating mental health disorders
  • The impact of culture on mental health and well-being

How To Choose A Psychology Topic?

Choosing a psychology topic can seem daunting, but there are some helpful steps you can take to make the process easier. 

Here are some tips to consider:

Identify Your Interests

Start by considering what topics in psychology interest you the most. Are you fascinated by abnormal psychology, cognitive psychology, or social psychology? 

By choosing a topic that you are interested in, you are more likely to be motivated to research and write about it.

Consider The Assignment Requirements

If you are choosing a topic for a specific assignment, make sure to read the instructions and guidelines carefully. Consider the length of the assignment, the required sources, and any other specific instructions that the professor may have provided.

Do Some Preliminary Research

Once you have identified your interests and considered the assignment requirements, start doing some preliminary research. Look for articles, books, and other resources on your topic to get a sense of what has already been written about it and to help refine your focus.

Narrow Down Your Topic

After doing some preliminary research, you may need to narrow down your topic. Try to focus on a specific aspect of the broader topic that you are interested in. This will help you to stay focused and write a more cohesive and effective paper.

By following these steps, you can choose a psychology topic that is interesting, manageable and meets the requirements of your assignment.

 Tips To Write a Compelling Psychology Essay

Writing a good psychology essay requires attention to detail, critical thinking, and clear writing. Here are some tips to help you write a great psychology essay:

  • Understand The Essay Prompt

Make sure you fully understand the prompt before you start writing. Identify the key terms and concepts and make sure you have a clear understanding of what is being asked of you.

  • Conduct Thorough Research

Conduct thorough research using reliable sources such as academic journals, books, and reputable websites. Be sure to take detailed notes and keep track of your sources.

  • Organize Your Thoughts

Organize your thoughts and ideas before you start the writing process. Create an outline or a mind map to help you structure your essay and ensure your ideas flow logically.

  • Use Clear, Concise Language

Use clear, concise language to convey your ideas. Avoid using jargon or technical terms unless necessary, and make sure your sentences are well-structured and easy to understand.

  • Support Your Arguments

Use evidence to support your arguments and claims. This could include citing research studies or other sources to back up your points.

  • Edit and Proofread

Edit and proofread your psychology research paper to eliminate errors and ensure your writing is polished and professional. Check for grammar and spelling mistakes, and make sure your formatting and referencing are consistent and accurate.

By following these tips, you can write a compelling psychology essay that effectively communicates your ideas and arguments.

In conclusion, choosing a psychology essay topic can be a daunting task. But with the right approach, it can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. 

Consider your interests, current events, and the audience when selecting a topic. Be sure to conduct thorough research and organize your ideas before writing. 

Additionally, keep in mind the tips for writing a compelling essay and crafting a strong thesis statement.

At, we understand that any psychology course can be challenging, especially when you have to write an essay about it.

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Betty P. (Literature)

Betty is a freelance writer and researcher. She has a Masters in literature and enjoys providing writing services to her clients. Betty is an avid reader and loves learning new things. She has provided writing services to clients from all academic levels and related academic fields.

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essay topics for evolutionary psychology

505 Evolution Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

🏆 best evolution topic ideas & essay examples, 👍 good essay topics on evolution, ✅ simple & easy evolution essay titles, 🔍 good research topics about evolution, 🎓 writing prompts about evolution, 📌 interesting topics to write about evolution, ❓ evolution essay questions.

  • The Rise and Evolution of the World of Islam Prophet Muhammad, who was was born and raised in Mecca, started spreading the teachings of Islam in Saudi Arabia and this marked the origin of Islam.
  • International Organizations and Their Evolution In this context, it can be stated that this strategy of international politics recognizes the belief that organizations and institutions are key ways of promoting peace around the world.
  • The History and Evolution of the Visual Basic Programming Language It is a specific language that is used by users to have a flexible environment in which they interact easily with the computer it is the best programming language and the easiest to use.
  • The Stone Age Period and Its Evolution Therefore, the term is associated with the tools and the equipments that the ancient people made from the stones. In the Neolithic age, there was development of weaving, pottery and metal weapons and tools began […]
  • Computer Technology: Evolution and Developments The development of computer technology is characterized by the change in the technology used in building the devices. The semiconductors in the computers were improved to increase the scale of operation with the development of […]
  • Importance of History and Evolution of Businesses to Managers Business managers are expected to organize, plan, control and oversee the implementation of business plans and strategies with the ultimate aim of accomplishing the goals and objectives of the firm.
  • Geography, its Evolution and Future Geography is the study of the earth and the natural features that characterize it. The revolution was related in some way, to the methods in which the researchers studied the earth and the processes occurring […]
  • “Why Evolution Is True?” by Jerry A. Coyne The reader is able to use this vivid substantiation of claims to understand the author’s need to introduce the aspect of God who is at the center of these natural happenings.
  • Evolution of Television Throughout the decade, the cable television was the means of transmission between the transmitters in television network premises and the receivers at the viewer’s home.
  • Principles & Concept of Total Quality Management Essay The second principle of TQM is that the problem in most companies is the processes but not the people. This was based on the fact that the quality of the products was determined by all […]
  • Creationism vs. Evolution A piece of art showcases the aptitude of an artist, so does the earth and the universe that imply the reality and the potentiality of its stylist.
  • The Importance of Teaching Alternative Evolution Theories The theory of evolution should be the basis of the entire course of biology at school. The general representation of the leading alternative evolution concepts should be provided before the arguments for these theories implementation […]
  • Evolution of Fire Fighting Gear The traditional shape of the helmet was created with a short brim on the front and a long brim on the back to keep embers and hot water from going down the back of the […]
  • The Times New Roman Font: Evolution and Readability The typography used in a newspaper represents a sample of the state of the medium. 7There is however, a strong tendency to ensure the legibility of the style and the readability of the writing, at […]
  • The Evolution of the Automobile & Its Effects on Society This piece of work will give an exhaustive discussion of the evolution of the automobile and the effects it has had on the society.
  • The Evolution of Behavioral and Cognitive Development Theories of Crime Behavioral theory is based upon the principles of behavioral psychology and is the basis for behavior modification and change. This theory is founded on the belief that the way in which people organize their thoughts […]
  • Stellar Evolution The mass of the star is, however, the most essential and influential factor that determines its lifetime especially when other factors are kept to a constant.
  • Sports Photography and Its Evolution The death of Niepce was announced in 1833, but the experiment was still been performed by Daguerre and he succeeded in the development of the daguerreotype finally in 1837.
  • The Evolution of the Car Engine France and the Great Britain reinforced the notion of the electric powered cars in the late 1800s. At the beginning of the century, a number of 33,842 electric vehicles in the United States became registered.
  • The American Military and the Evolution of Computer Technology From the Early 1940s to Early 1960s During the 1940s-1960, the American military was the only wouldriver’ of computer development and innovations.”Though most of the research work took place at universities and in commercial firms, military research organizations such as the Office […]
  • History of Hunting: Evolution and Improvement Contrary to the modern trend of hunting being more of a sport, during the pre-civilization era hunting was one of the main means of survival.
  • The Evolution of Electricity In one of her works Diana Bocce observes, “The kite experiment helped Franklin establish a relationship between lightening and electricity, which led to the invention of the lightning rod” This is considered one of the […]
  • Evolution of the Clock In this light, the paper tracks changes in the operation mechanisms of the clock in the quest to provide theoretical records of evolution of engineering.
  • Harry Winston Fashion Brand and Its Evolution Harry Winston Diamond Corporation was founded in the year 1932 and is headquartered in New York. Harry Winston has remained a powerful brand in the global jewelry industry.
  • Hebrew Monotheism: Origins and Evolution In the book of Exodus, Moses received the Ten Commandments from God and one of the commandments was to worship one God only.
  • English Language Evolution Because of the consolidation processes which England was experiencing in the course of the sixteenth century and the following strengthening of the empire, as well as the establishment of the relationships with other states of […]
  • Internet Evolution and Structure The creation of the network was meant to be a security measure to ensure that data and information belonging to ARPA remained within the system.
  • Candy Evolution Through the History The evolution of candy similar to those of the organism, may explain the reason why candy has found a centre spot in celebrating Darwin’s days. Valentine candy was used in the past and presently with […]
  • The Evolution of Nursing Overview When defining the notion of nursing in the context of the 21st century, many people fail to reflect on the historical precedents that contributed to the development of nursing as a separate qualification.
  • Urbanism in Architecture: Definition and Evolution In general urbanism is a very wide concept that is used to describe an urban centre architectural system in its totality beyond the mere building structures and includes a city’s infrastructure system, economy, geography, social-cultural […]
  • The Evolution of Human Rights: France vs. America The Age of Enlightenment made human rights one of the major concerns of the world community, which led to the American and French Revolutions the turning points in the struggle for justice.
  • Artificial Intelligence: The Trend in the Evolution Thus, the lens of history is a great way to consider knowledge and understanding of society and technology from a different angle in terms of comprehending the dynamics of society and the importance of technology […]
  • Embedded Intelligence: Evolution and Future The importance of mobility in the current business context has motivated the use of embedded technology to design systems. It is used in the management of energy systems such as production, distribution, and optimization.
  • The FBI and Its Evolution Through the History To talk competently and properly about the start of the FBI, you need to know and understand the main purpose they are keeping to; “The mission of the FBI is to upload the law through […]
  • Controversies on Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Although there are many theories which explain the origin of the earth, Darwin’s theory evokes strong responses due to the fact that it opposes religion and it does not meet all the requirements of a […]
  • “The Facts of Evolution” by Michael Shermer The major theme of the article is the justification of Darwin’s evolution theory. The theory is based on the assumption that species are static, but the changes in species are very rapid, and, thus, the […]
  • Phonograph Invention and Evolution The time period the phonograph was invented and the circumstances that led to the invention. The invention and advancement of the phonograph and its operations has had a part to play on other inventions.
  • The evolution of McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y in relation to the development of management theory The natural response of managers was to be more stringent and consequently the employees reacted to it, resulting in a viscous cycle.
  • Creationism and Evolution The bible in the book of Genesis describes the origin of heaven and earth and everything that is in it; God created everything.
  • Hominids and Stages of Human Evolution Ardipithecus ramidus, Australopithecines, Homo habilis, Homo erectus, and Homo Neanderthal are stages of human evolution with distinct physical appearances and behavior. The molars and premolars of Homo habilis were comparatively smaller than Ardipithecus and Australopithecus.
  • The Private Security’ History and Evolution However, it was after this era when the parliament in the United States organized a number of security studies in order to expand the scope of security channels in various institutions including the inclusion of […]
  • Co-Evolution: Angiosperms and Pollinating Animals The birds need nectar from the flowers, the plants that produce nectar consequently only do so to attract these birds and insects, for the process of drawing nectar from these plants to be possible, the […]
  • The Evolution of Heavy Metal Rock Music in UK and US In the United States, the tempo of heavy metal music is slower than the heavy metal rock music in Great Britain.
  • The Evolution of the Chinese Brush Painting Other ritual vessels in the country were decorated using the brush and ink; resulting in the flourishing of the brush painting in the country.
  • Neurophysiological and Evolutionary Theories While the brain plays a critical role in major processes of an individual, the concept of learning has occurred seamlessly throughout the lives of species. Hence, learning in this situation may depend on the power […]
  • The Evolution of American Slavery Overall, it is possible for us to advance a thesis that the origins of black slavery should be sought in the economic development of American colonies in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and especially the […]
  • Evolution of Construction Management From 1960s to Today Thus, the basic features of management within the scope of construction were visible already throughout the undertakings of the first people.
  • The Evolution of the Greek Temple Admittedly, the architecture of ancient Greece had a great impact on the development of the architecture of the entire western civilization.
  • Scientist Charles Darwin & Evolution By the year 1846, Darwin had a number of publications relating to zoological and geological discoveries of his expedition works that catapulted him in the scientists front rank.
  • Charles Darwin: Evolution Theory The naturalist of the time believed that everything in the world had a key role in the economic of nature and the credit was given to an intelligent creator.
  • Tesla: Testing a Business Model at Its (R)Evolutionary Best To examine the sustainability of Tesla’s business model, one needs to get to the very core of what the company is actually doing on the market and in the business world.
  • Graphic Card Industry and Evolution A graphic card, usually, referred to as a video card or a graphic accelerator card is an electronic circuit installed on the motherboard inside the central power unit, mostly on Laptops and desktop computers.
  • The Theory of Evolution It must be admitted that the theory of evolution has a number of legit points and has all the rights to be considered the most valid theory of all existing.
  • Evolution of Amazon Business Model In this whole process, it will have to entice the customers to pay for the value and so it is a proposition of what the customer expects in terms of product, how they want it […]
  • Earth Atmospheric Evolution It is believed that the different geological evolutions of the earth and the atmosphere have come up with very new species of animals following a transformation of the then existing animals, as well as extinction […]
  • American Popular Music and Its Evolution Compared to the country blues popular in the 1900s, classic female blues combines its features with urban theater music, and “Crazy Blues” is one of the first songs of this genre.
  • Soccer in America: Its History, Origin, Evolution, and Popularize This Sport Among Americans The coverage of the history of this game which is also popularly known as soccer is quite diverse and different ideas have been put across as to where the game originated and its evolution to […]
  • Audre Lorde’s Role in the Black Aesthetics Evolution Ilmonen also observes that in her poems, Lorde often referred to the West African cultural and spiritual heritage as “the consoling arms of a mother”.
  • Horse Family and Its Evolution Fossil records reveal a wide study of the evolution of the horse. This paper examines the evolutionary trend of the horse.
  • The Evolution of Dragons in Fantasy Fiction One of the most significant figures among the range of the animals inhabiting the land of fantasy is a dragon, the symbol of wisdom and power.
  • Why Evolution Is True? A study of some of the fossil evidence using some of the modern tools shows a clear pattern of evolutionary change that make it easy to appreciate that evolution could be true.
  • Evolution of Predator and Prey Pairings Given the fact that prey and predator pairings threatens the survival of the prey there are other external factors that contribute to the elimination of the prey species.
  • Historical Evolution of Technology in Healthcare During the 18th century, the medical field was in disarray due to the lack of organization and deaths resulting from inefficiencies and negligence of doctors.
  • Evolution of Makkah as a City The first pattern is a central business district, in this pattern the shape has been affected by the natural topography of the city of Makkah.
  • Nursing as a Discipline: Evolution and Education This paper aims at discussing and describing the evolution of the nursing profession to date, its mode of conduct, and the differences between associate nurses and Baccalaureate nurses.
  • Evolution: Primate Locomotion and Body Configuration The idea that mobility of upper limbs was least in prosimians, greater in monkeys, greater still in apes, and most in humans was a useful idea for viewing the primates in earlier times.
  • Women’s Status in the Workforce and Its Evolution However, I was interested in taking a historical excursion into the evolution of the position of women in the labor market and understanding how women of the last century felt in the labor market and […]
  • Ponyboy’s Evolution in Hinton’s “The Outsiders” Two of Ponyboy’s friends die, and he sees a lot of violence in the streets. He is still a part of the gang, and he thinks that violence is a part of their life.
  • Modern City and Human Society Evolution In this regard, it is possible to suggest that the evolution of the modern city will be conditioned by the blistering development of the business world and other tendencies related to the sphere of the […]
  • The Evolution of Harriet Tubman When describing Harriet Tubman’s psychosocial development during the first stage, it is important to examine her relationship with the parents, especially with her mother.
  • The Evolution of Philips Organization Reorganization in the 1990s demonstrated that the company’s effectiveness of Philips was earlier reduced due to the specific approach to the senior management selection.
  • Distance Learning and Its Evolution Definitions of distance education are varied and diverse, but the main concept of distance learning can be summarized from the situation wherein the student and the educator are separated by distance and time and the […]
  • Darwin’s Theory of Human Evolution Although Darwin seems to refute the religious claim on the origin of man, it is apparent that both religion and science share a common hypothesis that man has a distinct origin. Darwin is also concerned […]
  • The Evolution of Television The discovery of the photoconductive properties of selenium by Willoughby Smith and his assistant in 1873 completely changed the things in the history of television.
  • Canadian Child Welfare System Evolution Significant changes started with the introduction of the Indian Act, the Act for the Prevention of Cruelty to and Better Protection of Children of 1981, and the Child Welfare Act of 1922.
  • Evolution and Importance of Advertising in a Context of Modern Society It is difficult to overestimate the importance of advertising within the modern society as the main tool of persuasion of the audience and advancement of the companies and their products.Dr S.
  • History and Evolution of the Guitar Instrument According to Scott, one final and significant development in the evolution of the guitar is the increasing attention given to musical composers.
  • Money: Evolution, Functions, and Characteristics It acts as medium of exchange where it is accepted by both buyers and sellers; the buyer gives money to the seller in exchange of commodities.
  • The Evolution of Software Attacks In the last decade, with the growing penetration of Wi-Fi and the Internet into every facet of our lives, software vulnerabilities have increased tenfold.
  • Evolution With a Human Face: Biological and Cultural As a result of this, it is evident that memes and genes play important roles in the mental development of an infant.
  • Classical Symphonies: Investigating Style Evolution of Western Classical Music The formative period of classical music was between the 18th and 19th centuries. Beethoven wrote music slowly and purposely with the romantics’ guidance.
  • Modernist Movement in Music: Investigating Style Evolution of Western Classical Music The modernist movement in music seems appropriate for this paper because of the unique and exciting styles of composing modern-era music, such as jazz, pop, and rock.
  • Evolutionary Psychology and Christian Worldview Since psychology studies the human mind and behavior of people and thus it incorporates and implements various scientific fields and methods to do so.
  • The Automotive Technology Evolution This marked the beginning of the car industry, which ultimately led to the development of modern automobiles and opened the way for their production. The reliability and safety of automobiles have increased due to technological […]
  • Hominin Evolution: Biological and Cultural Aspects The brain capacity of Homo habilis creatures was greater compared to their ancestors enabling them to become more intelligent. The locomotion of Homo habilis was aided by their legs and forelimbs.
  • The Evolution of Boy and Girl Characters Through the Decades That depiction of the boy character reflects the expectations for boys in the 1940s, which were heavily influenced by the traditional values of the time.
  • The Juvenile Justice System Evolution Process The notion of due legal process, in turn, implies the maturity and autonomy of the person involved in the due process.
  • Linguistic Evolution: Language Development The ability to acquire new things and keep the brain active and healthy is greatly enhanced by acquiring a second language other than one’s native tongue. Identifying language as a tool for forming connections and […]
  • Unveiling the Evolution of Geography Much of the Middle Ages’ astronomy and geography may be traced back to the claims of Claudius Ptolemy, a Greek mathematician, astronomer, and geographer. He wrote about it in The Almagest, a book about the […]
  • Transhumanism and Its Impact on Human Evolution The same thoughts began to spread within the framework of eugenics in the early 20th century in the form of various conferences and meetings.
  • Human Evolution and Bio-Cultural Changes The concept of the human sphere was introduced in the 30s of the XX century simultaneously in different countries by several scientists.
  • The Origin of Man and Primates’ Evolution However, one can merely comprehend the origin of man if one considers history from the beginning of the evolution of the order of primates. Primates are masters of living in the trees due to their […]
  • The Evolution of Modern US Society: The US Foreign Policy The economy of the antebellum era was characterized by significant growth, which was attributed to the slave economy, which was common among the southerners and the family farms in the northern states, and the waged […]
  • The Evolution and Impact of Advertising in the Medical Sector The negative impact of advertising has often been a myth and has not been adapted to the specific influence in the area under consideration.
  • Telehealth’s Evolution: Navigating Health and Equality Across Pandemic Phases By offering estimates of the effect of improved access to telehealth services on the general public, this research adds to the larger body of work on telecare.
  • Aspects of Human Evolution and Progress The concepts of human evolution and progress have evolved throughout history leading to different perspectives on the scientific, agricultural, and language themes resulting in universal similarities that have shaped the nature of the world today.
  • The Evolution of Private and Public Unions Public sector unions first appeared in the 1900s, after private sector unions in the middle of the 1800s. Since the middle of the 20th century, the membership of unions in the public and commercial sectors […]
  • Primal Vocal Communication and Evolution of Speech The focus on primate vocal communication and its significance to the evolution of speech, the main form of human communication, led to the selection of a paper by Fischer J, “Primate Vocal Communication and the […]
  • Philosophizing About Music and Its Evolution Applying the cultural lens to the notion of music and the associated concepts implies revisiting the current understanding of the specified notions.
  • Theories of Galaxy Evolution: Looking at the Bigger Picture From the point of galaxy evolution, it means that the stellar mass of the galaxy also intensifies with time due to the existence of trends in the spectral energy distribution.
  • Evolution of Humans: The Main Theories The process of evolution is one of the closest to the human being as people constantly invent new technologies and expand their minds.
  • Evolution of Political Philosophy: Smith & Arendt The flowering of the ideas of political economy in the historical sense came in the works of the eighteenth-century English economist Adam Smith.
  • The Video Game Industry Evolution The first mention of the creation of such games dates back to the 1940s, but it was in 1952 that Alexander Shafto “Sandy” Douglas officially presented his dissertation at the University of Cambridge. One of […]
  • Social Darwinism: Evolutionary Explanations in Sociology In order to understand the reasons behind the failure of social Darwinism to describe society objectively, it is essential to review this ideology’s common arguments.
  • Hyper Evolution: The Rise of the Robots From the video, the robots look like real human beings, and they have been capacitated to act in a human way in what is known as machine learning technology powered by artificial intelligence. Hyper evolution […]
  • Greek Sculpture and Its Evolution Over Time The shape of the hands was sculptured to be held close to the sides of the statue; their fists were clenched, their knees were rigid, and their hair was stylized.
  • Analysis of Nursing Practice Evolution Nursing started as a profession in the middle of the 19th century, with most historians crediting Florence Nightingale as the person who founded nursing.
  • Evolutionary and Revolutionary Models of Change in Management At the same time, the rush and the absence of back-and-forth communication usually mean that revolutionary change has to be maintained to prevent the company from reverting to the old ways.
  • Technical Evolution of Automobiles In 1888, the practically of Benz’s car would come to test when his wife, Bertha, and their two sons embarked on a journey using a better version of the car.
  • Creation and Evolution According to Holy Bible This doctrine has been validated by the Church, based on the first passage of the Bible: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the world”. Overall, being in line with the biblical viewpoint, both […]
  • Evolutionary Psychology and Psychological Anthropology Coupled with the tendency to avoid uncertainty and the positive activation of the emotional system by fantasies about winning, humans’ reliance on crude calculations of odds makes lottery gambling something attractive.
  • Computer Usage Evolution Through Years In the history of mankind, the computer has become one of the most important inventions. The diagnostics and treatment methods will be much easier with the help of computer intervention.
  • Aggression in Nonhuman Primates and Human Evolution Comparing and analyzing the sources of aggression among chimpanzees and bonobos revealed that environmental factors, such as food availability, determined key differences of social structure and aggression patterns in chimps and bonobos.
  • The US Federal Authority: History and Evolution Moreover, according to Grodzins, the sheer force employed in persecuting African-Americans in their movements for Civil rights was also facilitated by Federalism.
  • Evolutionary Biology and Darwin The lack of knowledge about the laws of heredity, the genetic and ecological structure of species, and the lack of experimental evidence of natural selection served as the basis for the growth of critical attitudes […]
  • Nursing History and Theory Evolution This paper aims to offer a comprehensive view of the history of nursing, major influences on the profession, and the evolution of nursing theory.
  • Early Evolution of Parole in the US In Chapter 3, there is a discussion on the early evolution of parole in the US, as well as its utilization in the current sentencing practices.
  • Study About the Greek Evolution Following the development of the polis, the Greeks initiated the formation of different political structures in the country. Athens played a vital role in the Persian war by defeating the Persians in the salamis and […]
  • Sociology: History, Early Theories, and Evolution In the middle of the first millennium BC, the awareness of the inevitability of social inequality resulted in a conceptual justification of its necessity.
  • Healthcare Evolution and Its Effect on the US Thus, presuming inequality in the fabric of the nation and lack of the feeling of “sameness” is one part of the reason for the lack of unified healthcare.
  • Materiality, Agency and Evolution of Lithic Technology The authors’ hypothesis is to conduct a re-assessment of materiality theory and to broadly re-articulate the debate about the evolution of the human species.
  • The Historical Evolution of Perceptions Towards Gender Some of the main questions of what is appropriate to the people of certain gender have been present and debated about for a long time.
  • Origin of the Earth: The Creation and Evolution Theory The Catholic Church believes in both the creation and evolution theory. According to the Catholics, all Christians believe in a unique creation carried out by God in six days, and there is a strong belief […]
  • Racism Evolution: Experience of African Diaspora As a result, distinct foundations fostered the necessity of inequality to establish effectiveness of inferiority and superiority complexes. To determine the effect of slavery and racism to modern society.
  • Emotional Evolution and Mental Problems in Postmodern Literature For the first time, the authors started talking about the horrors of war and the animal fear that a person experiences.
  • Researching of Evolution of Love Intimacy, as a component of the triangular theory of love, is the feeling of bondedness, connectedness, and closeness in a relationship.
  • Northwest Coast Masks: Evolution of Cultural Complexity According to Coupland, “the development of the Northwest Coast ethnographic pattern those uniquely complex ethnographic hunting-and-gathering societies has been the focus of many archaeological investigations on the Northwest Coast of North America”.
  • The Evolutionary Theory in the Context of Modern Sociology A theory is a connected system of general concepts, constructs, or propositions presenting a systematic view of phenomena through the specification of variables to explain the phenomena.
  • History: Evolution of Humans The first picture demonstrates the areas of the settlement of modern humans’ predecessors, namely, Homo erectus, Homo neanderthalensis, and Homo sapiens, as well as the times of the migration of Homo sapiens to different regions.
  • Evolutionary Ethics vs. Belief in God In addition, the disadvantage of the evolutionary theory is that moral and ethical norms cannot be determined only to a biological degree.
  • First Reptiles Adaptation: Amniotic Egg Evolution The amniotic egg evolution is an adaptation that allowed the first reptiles to thrive in a dry land the development occurred over 300 million years ago. The robust shell protects the egg from drying out, […]
  • Lenski’s Theory of Sociocultural Evolution An evaluation of the progression of crime, deviance, and social control through these stages is demonstrative of the theory’s applicability. The forms and means of crime and deviance were rudimentary during the pre-industrial age, and […]
  • Categorizing Human-Made Objects: How It Shaped the Evolution of Display Spaces Due to the introduction of museums and display spaces in the 1500s-1830s, the opportunity to apply the historical lens to historical objects has emerged, helping to discover and appreciate the information about the specifics of […]
  • The Evolution of Women’s Rights Through American History From the property-owning women of the late 18th century to the proponents of the women’s liberation in the 1960s, women always succeeded in using the influential political theories of their time to eventually make feminist […]
  • Aspects of Evolution and Creationism The adheres to the theory of divine spark and pays special attention to the ability of organisms to adapt to various conditions and the complexity of their structure.
  • Evolution: Natural Selection in Action The population of these moths will have both dark and white moths at the starting point. The dark moths reproduced successfully due to lack of predation.
  • Evolution of Public Policies in Healthcare – Role and Impact of Nurses In California in the 1990s changes in health care delivery resulted in reduced nursing jobs and consequent higher stress for nurses, affecting the safety of patients.
  • Evolutionary Changes of Animals and Plants This presentation will show how animals and plants evolved with time passing. It is critical to examine the factors that underlie these processes and their outcomes.
  • The Evolution of Human Skin Color The amount of UV light depends on the latitude: the highest concentration is spread throughout the equator, while the areas close to the Earth’s poles had it in scarcity. Both folate and vitamin D contributed […]
  • Evolution of Autonomous Driving Technology The torpedo could travel hundreds of meters while maintaining underwater depth due to its pressurization system known as ‘The Secret.’ The Secret was a combination of hydrostatic and pendulum that gave the hydroplane stability to […]
  • Anthropology: Evolution of Human Language and Tongue According to the anatomical characteristics of humans the ability to produce speech was pursuant to them. They lived among hominids which noise and sounds they tried to come after.
  • Evolutionary and Socioemotional Selectivity Theories Namely, interpersonal relationships in the family are the basis of socialization and intellectual development as they connect a person with other people, allowing the developing of a personality and forming an identity.
  • Evolution: Taxonomy, Primate Physiology The bones in the snake are the last remaining parts of the pelvis though the snake’s bones however, the snake does not have bones.
  • Nigeria’s Economic Evolution and Future Growth The Federal Republic of Nigeria is a country located in the western part of the African Continent. The paper is going to tackle the economic evolution and the current economic status of Nigeria.
  • On the Evolution of MTV and Music Videos The nature of the music industry had a great transformation with the birth of MTV and acquired a glory in the next several years.
  • The Evolution Of Cell Types: Evolution of a Menace Antibiotic resistance The capability of a bacterial species to survive the impact of the administration of chemicals that are designed to induce death is known as antibiotic resistance.
  • Organ System and Evolution The resistant bacteria can survive and continue to multiply even in the presence of the antibiotics that were once used to eradicate them.
  • “Molecular Insights Into Classic Examples of Evolution” Current research, as discussed by the symposium speakers explicitly cited in this article, reveals that genetics plays a fundamental role in evolution science and it is indeed the mutation of genes that actually allows organisms […]
  • Evolution of Community Correctional Programs One of the varieties of the sanctuary was applied to all members of the public while the other was reserved to the church members only.
  • Evolution of Understanding of Medical Ethics From Past to the Present A look at the concern about the treatment of human subjects, the history of human subjects, the current treatment of human subjects and the real impact of the treatment of human subjects and research done […]
  • Do Parasites Become Less Toxic to Their Hosts Over Evolutionary Time? The most devastating effects of a parasite to the host are related to the toxicity of the parasite. The phenomenon of natural selection leads to the molecular evolution and ultimately changes the chemical and biological […]
  • Parasites and Hosts Relations Over Evolutionary Time Subsequently, within the secondary host, the behavior of the parasite that makes the secondary host more at vulnerable risk to being consumed by the primary host would be anticipated to evolve.
  • How Biogeography Supports the Theory of Human Evolution This segment of the study reveals variation in biological communities of organisms in the lines of geographical gradients of elevation, habitat area, isolation, and latitude.
  • Emerging Infectious Disease: Epidemiology and Evolution of Influenza Viruses The chain of infection of H1N1 influenza is hard to break because it is transmitted through the respiratory system and contact. When a human being is infected with the H1N1 virus, is mainly due to […]
  • Humans Are Not the “Last Point” in the Evolution of Vertebrates This paper focuses on the evolution of animals and in precise the evolution of the vertebrates. It shows that the mammals were are not the highest evolution of the vertebrates but some more animals and […]
  • Impact of Specialization and Evolution in Law These changes include increased demand for legal services from the ever-expanding corporate world and individuals who were previously underrepresented, an increase in the number of female lawyers, and an increase in the number of minorities […]
  • “The Evolution of the New Environmental Metaparadigms of Nursing” by Kleffel Early nursing leaders such as Florence Nightingale and Lillian Wald had comprehensive perspectives of the environment and later on, their viewpoints on the impact of the environment of an individual helped to shape the nursing […]
  • The Evolution of Probation, Parole, Prisons, Jails, and Sentencing The evolution of probation started in England and later spread to America as recognizance upon release and bail on condition that the suspect would avail him/herself before the court.
  • Evidence for Biological Evolution The interconnection between life and evolution remained a mystery until the radiance named Charles Darwin illuminated the scientific world with a novel piece of work titled “On the Origin of the Species using Natural Selection […]
  • The Theory of Evolution. Gene Responsible for Hairiness
  • Structure and Evolution of Plants
  • Evolution: Debunking Darwin’s and Lincoln’s Contributions
  • Theories of Galaxy Formation and Evolution
  • Biological Diversity Origin and Evolution Directionality
  • Evolutionary Theory: Misconceptions Analysis
  • Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and Natural Selection
  • Healthcare Evolution and Current Financial Decision-Making Situation
  • Healthcare Facilities’ Design Evolution
  • Summary Article and Video of Evolutionary Process
  • The Role of Certain Genes in the Process of Evolution
  • Evolution of Segmentation Among the Chordates, Annelids, and Arthropods
  • The Origin and Evolution of Segmentation by Davis and Patel
  • The Origin and Evolution of Segmentation: Analysis
  • Origin and Evolution of Segmentation
  • Finches and Worms’ Evolutionary Pattern
  • Technological Evolution in the Financial Industry
  • Evidence of the Evolutionary Process
  • Evolution Development: Introducing New Species
  • Personal Computer Evolution Overview
  • Patterns of Evolution in Humans and Other Organisms
  • The Evolution of Vertebrae Teeth
  • Evolutionary Analysis of Asymmetric Limits
  • Evolutionary Biology: Sleep Patterns in Mammals
  • Darwin’s Ideas of Natural Selection and Evolution
  • Evolution of Computers in Commercial Industries and Healthcare
  • Human Evolution and Animal Extinction
  • Society and Evolutionary History: The Question of the Origin of Life
  • Evolution and Natural Selection
  • The Evolution of Insect Wings
  • The Evolution of Communication Structures in Animals
  • Evolution of the Cichlid Fish Species in Lake Victoria
  • Prison Gangs’ Evolution and Solutions to Them
  • Evolution of the Caregiving Experience in the Initial 2 Years Following Stroke
  • Human Circulatory System and Evolution
  • Duty of Obedience in Charitable Organizations Evolution
  • Photosynthesis Rate Determination From the Oxygen Gas Evolution
  • Insect Evolution
  • Evolution: Three Different Modes of Selection
  • Medicare: Comparison With Medicaid and Its Evolution
  • Evolutionary Theory and Linguistics in Africa’s Historiography
  • The History Of Drag Queens and The Evolution Of Drag
  • Microeconomic Perspective on Poverty Evolution in Pakistan
  • How Customer Evolution Has Affected Airlines
  • The Evolution of Marketing Activities
  • Convergent Evolution of Health Information Management and Health Informatics
  • Transgenic Organisms and Evolution
  • Evolution of Clothes and Fashion in Twentieth Century
  • Screen Readers’ Evolution and Their Current Usability
  • Hip Hop Evolution and Racial & Political Conditions
  • DNA and Evolution – What’s Similar
  • Evolutionary Biology: Program Model at Genetic Level
  • Creationism and Evolution Theories
  • Human Evolution: Electronic Immortality
  • Evolution of Mating by Charles Darwin
  • The Positive Evolution of Art in the Twentieth Century
  • Non-Aligned Movement History and Evolution
  • Primate Evolutionary Context
  • Criminal Justice System in the United States Evolution
  • Morality Evolution, Its Explanations, and Definitions
  • Franklin Roosevelt: The Evolution of an American Idea
  • “Why Evolution Is True” by J. A. Coyne
  • Evolution of Social Behaviour and Attitudes
  • History and Evolution of the Public Policy
  • Evolutionary Explanation for Sex and Gender Differences
  • “Evolution of Federal Cyber Security” by J. Roth
  • The Evolutionary Psychology Key Points
  • Evolutionary Paradigm Theory by Alan Malachowski
  • God and Darwin’s Evolution Theory: A Theological Approach
  • The Origin and Evolution of Religious Pro-sociality
  • Evolution Process and the Study of Hominids
  • The Evolution of Terrorism on the World Stage
  • The Super Continental Cycle and Evolution
  • Leadership Evolution in Public Administration
  • Lamprell Company: Company’s Evolution
  • Evolution of Icon Painting: Hans Belting’s “Likeness and Presence”
  • Earliest Humans and the Evolution of Humans in the Region of Africa
  • Child Development and Evolutionary Psychology
  • Judaism: Religious Beliefs Evolution
  • Understanding the Evolution of Trade Deficits
  • A Perspective on the Evolution Marketing Management
  • Intelligent Design and Evolution
  • Evolution of Humans: The Human Evolutionary Theory
  • Popular Culture in America Today: Evolution, Features, and Impact in Other Parts of the World
  • Evolution Essays and Their Components
  • Anthropology: Genus Homo and Human Birth Evolution
  • EPA and the Evolution of Federal Regulation
  • Biological Anthropology, Lamarck’s and Darwin’s View of Evolution
  • Evolution of Formal Organizations
  • Evolution of Chevrolet Camaro. Historical Analysis
  • Evolution: Different Types of Selection
  • Evolution and the Cognitive Neuroscience of Awareness and Consciousness
  • Sociology. Evolution of Formal Organizations
  • Misconceptions About the Evolutionary Theory
  • Dove as a Brand and Its Evolution
  • Music: Evolution Factors of Technology and Drugs
  • Evolution: Gene Variations Among Different Species
  • Alternative Theories of Evolution
  • Stephen Jay Gould, Evolution, and Intelligent Design
  • Grandmothering and the Evolution of Homo Erectus
  • Music, Its Definition and Evolution
  • Television Systems: Innovation and Evolution
  • Science Provides Evidences to Idea of Evolution
  • Hominoid Evolution: Intelligence and Communication
  • Theory of Evolution and Religion
  • The Expression of the Bmp4 Gene and Its Role in the Evolutionary Process
  • Telemedicine: Evolution Today of This Form of Trade With Development of IT and E-Commerce
  • Scholars on Philosophy and Evolution
  • Outsourcing Evolution in Poland
  • The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Origins and Evolution
  • “Why Evolution Is True” by Jerry Coyne
  • The Evolution of Music: Brief Review
  • Evolution of a Media Sources
  • The Network and Architectural Issues of Enterprise System Evolution
  • Modern Corporate Marketing Departments Evolution
  • Evolution of Warfare and Weapons
  • Bergson’s and Whitehead’s Philosophy of Evolution
  • Theology of the Old Testament. Religious Evolution
  • Communication Evolution and Media at the Wartime
  • Evolution of Formal Organizations Paper
  • Mexico’s Economic, Social and Political Evolution
  • The Analysis of Tendencies of Evolution of Global Governance
  • Evolution of Limbs: Fossil and Genetic Information
  • “The Historical Evolution of Black Feminist Theory and Praxis” by Taylor
  • Film Music Evolution in the United States
  • The Turtle Evolution Concept
  • Cartesian Dualism and Human Evolution
  • Intelligent Design vs. Evolution Theory
  • Nursing Evolution Since Florence Nightingale
  • Learning Assessment Evolution and Current Trends
  • The Importance of Studying Creation and Evolution Theories for a Christian
  • Body Shape Evolution in African Sympatric Congeners
  • Web Form Evolution: From Web 1.0 to Web 3.0
  • Darwin, Evolution, and Modern History
  • Personal Legend and Journey of Evolution
  • Evolutionary Psychology and Natural Selection Theory
  • Tectonics and Geology: Landscape Evolution
  • Human Societies Evolution and the Role of Innovation
  • History and Evolution of Lipsticks
  • Contrast Evolutionary and Social Psychology
  • Instructional Design Approaches and Evolution
  • Russian Ideas’ Evolution in Politics and Economics
  • Anthropology: Homo Erectus in Evolution
  • Balanced Scorecard Evolution as a Management Tool
  • Evolution of Project Management Research
  • The American Revolution and Political Legitimacy Evolution
  • Ardipithecus Ramidus in Language Evolution
  • Fibrous Aerosol Filters and Their Evolution
  • Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Supply Chains’ Evolution
  • The Evolution of Leadership Theory
  • Durkheim’s Labor Division Theory and Legal Evolution
  • Kent Flannery’s View on the Evolution of Civilisations
  • The Study of the Civilizations Evolution
  • Evolution of Psychology and Social Cognition
  • The US Foreign Politics Evolution
  • Globalization Evolution in the UAE
  • Emirate Post Group: the Pace of Evolution
  • Television, Its Invention and Technical Evolution
  • Evolutionary Theory in Biology and Anthropology
  • Human Brain Evolution: External & Internal Factors
  • Native Americans’ Evolution in the XIX Century
  • Human Brain Evolution and Shrinking
  • The Islam Nation Rise and Evolution
  • The Evolution of Finches and Their Feeding Habits
  • Evolution of Close Binary Stars
  • Darwin’s Evolutionary Theory and Creationism
  • Darwinism and Creationism in “Evolution” Documentary
  • Darwin’s Theory of Evolution
  • Evolution of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Evolutionary Time Lag and Good Genes Selection
  • Criticism and Discussion in Science Evolution
  • Jerry Coyne’s Book “Why Evolution Is True?”
  • An Evolutionary Window on the Worlds of Pornography and Romance
  • Languages, Their Evolution and Importance
  • From Classics to Our Time: the Evolution of the Cinema
  • Money Evolution in Ancient Times and Nowadays
  • Biodiversity, Its Evolutionary and Genetic Reasons
  • American Finance Evolution and Its Stages
  • Money Evolution in the 21st Century and Before
  • Nazi Anti-Jewish Policy and Its Evolution
  • Creationism, Evolution and Intelligent Design
  • Starbucks’ Brand Evolution and Redesign
  • Language: Evolution and Universal Features
  • Parity Conditions and Country’s Evolution
  • American National Security and Technology Evolution
  • Computer Evolution, Its Future and Societal Impact
  • Process of Evolution: Organisms Structure Modifications
  • US Militia System Evolution to US Military
  • Evolution of a Firm: Linear Regression
  • The Process Market Relations Evolution in Modern World
  • Terrorism: the Evolution of ISIS
  • Evolutionary Driving Forces
  • Habeas Corpus: History, Evolution and Significance
  • US Policing Evolution Since 1963
  • Performance Measurement Evolution
  • Ecocide, Human Social Evolution, and Globalization
  • The Evolution of Lean Six Sigma by Pepper & Spedding
  • Automotive Industry Evolution
  • Anti-Defamation League: Evolution and Definition
  • Evolutionary Psychology: Science or Pseudoscience
  • The Solar System Formation and the Earth Evolution
  • Culture of Italy: History and Evolution
  • Social Networking Evolution: GeoCities Analysis
  • The Evolution of the Race Meaning
  • Evolution of Capitalism: Concept, Origin and Development
  • Evolutionary Theory and Genetics
  • Psychological Perspectives Evolution and Theories
  • Evolutionary Psychology: Cognition and Culture
  • The Future of Islam: Evolution and Changes
  • The Evolution of Human Rights in Canada
  • Biosphere Evolution and Threats
  • Hotel Electronic Distribution Channel Strategy Evolution
  • Evolution and Speciation’s Four Forces
  • India and the UAE: Evolution Ways
  • History of the Race Evolution
  • The Concept of Design and Its Evolution
  • Why Medicine Needs a Dose of Evolution?
  • Athletic Training Evolution
  • Evolution Role in the Humanity and Planet Development
  • Cognitive Psychology Evolution Aspects
  • Celtic Christianity Evolution
  • Formal Organization Structure
  • The Instrumental Music of Baroque: Forms and Evolution
  • Forbidden Archeology Against Mainstream Evolution Theories
  • Commoner, Darwin and Paley’ Theories on Humans Evolution
  • Culture and Human Evolution – Personal Psychology
  • Andy Clark on Human Mentality and Technology
  • Canadian Social Democracy Historical Evolution
  • The Evolution of the LGBT Rights
  • History: Evolution of the Scientific Revolution
  • Economic Issues: The Evolution of Usury
  • The Crime Fighting Evolution
  • The Human Morals Evolution
  • Evolution Process Definition
  • Mi’kmaq People: History and Evolution
  • Biological Anthropology: Hominid Evolution
  • Evolution of Cognitive Psychology
  • 4G Network Adaptation and Evolution
  • Evolutionary Psychology: Short-term Mating in Men
  • Evolutionary Psychology: Definition and Key Concepts
  • Phyletic Gradualism and Punctuated Equilibrium Evolution Theory
  • Language Evolution in Human Being
  • Analysis: “Pandora’s Growing Box: Inferring the Evolution and Development of Hominin Brains from Endocasts” by Zollikofer and Ponce de Leo´n
  • The Evolution of Organizational Knowledge Creation Theory
  • The Evolution Future Architecture
  • Office Depot’s E-Commerce Evolution
  • Does Evolution Explain Why Men Rape
  • Technology Evolution in The Modern Society
  • “The Link Between Fire Research and Process Safety” by Cadena and Munoz
  • Balanced Scorecard Concept Evolution
  • Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument against Naturalism
  • The Evolution of Education in Hong Kong
  • Impressionism and Post-Impressionism: Technique Evolution
  • Human Computer Interface: Evolution and Changes
  • Industrial relations-Evolution of labor movements
  • Evolution and Revolution as Organizations Grow
  • Evolution of Planning and Design
  • Evolution of Organizational Knowledge Creation Theory
  • Evolutionary Psychology: Depression
  • History and Evolution of Health Care Economics
  • Evolution of Fire Protection Codes
  • Evolutionary Psychology Issues
  • How the Way of Reading Books Changed due to Rapid Evolution of Technology
  • Evolution of Imperial Rule in Japan and China
  • The Problem of People’s ‘Dangerous Evolutionary Baggage’
  • The Reasons for Amazon’s Evolution of Supply Chain and Distribution Systems in the United States
  • Evolution of ERP system
  • Incident Command System History and Evolution
  • Human Evolution and Archaeology
  • The Four Forces of Evolution and Variation
  • The Individual and Game Theory Criticisms and the Evolutionary Theory
  • Childhood Evolution and History
  • Evolution of Charitable Self-Guidelines in Europe
  • Evolution of the Incidents Command System
  • History of the Gradual Radical Evolution in America
  • The Evolution of Gun Control Policy in College Campus: The Path to Better Policy Making
  • West Coast Jazz: History and Evolution
  • Major Historical Vents: Evolution or Revolution
  • The Evolution of the Personal Computer and the Internet
  • The Concept and Effects of Evolution of Electronic Health Record System Software
  • Theories of the Language Evolution
  • Illustration’ Evolution in 20th Century
  • Evolution of the Chilean Government After the Ruthless Regime of Augusto Pinochet
  • How primary resources can debunk the misconception that Darwin proposed the first theory of evolution
  • Capitalism Concept Evolution
  • Evolution in the English Language
  • The background and evolution of British policy regarding the Palestine issue
  • The Evolution of Industrialized Workers in Chicago
  • The Evolutionary Genetics of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis
  • Evolutionary Account of Female Mating Preferences
  • The Four Forces of Evolution
  • The Development and Evolution of the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology
  • Feminism and Evolution or Emergence of Psychology
  • Paleontology and The Evolutionary Theory
  • Global Evolution in “Midaq Alley” by Mahfouz Naguib
  • Women and the Evolution of World Politics
  • “The Indian Challenge: The Evolution of a Successful New Global Strategy in the Pharmaceutical Industry” by D. Jane Bower and Julian C. Sulez
  • The Evolution of the Division of Labor Theory Starting From Ancient Greek Economists to the Present
  • The Evolution of Woman’s Work From the 19th Century
  • Evolution of Solar Energy in US
  • Evolution of the IRA
  • The Evolution of US Military Logistical Procurement
  • Does Evolution explain human nature?
  • The Evolution of the American Hero
  • Evolution and History of Fire Science
  • Evolution of Dogs from the Gray Wolf
  • Comparing Knauft’s Study on Violence and Sociality with Darwin’s Evolutionary Perspectives
  • Evolution of Power Production
  • Evolution of Photography: Trying to Seize the Moment
  • Evolution of Hospice Care
  • Natural Selection: Darwin’s Theory of Evolution
  • The Evolution of American Federalism
  • The Relevance of Evolutionary Psychology
  • The Evolution of the iPhone from Inception to Today’s iPhone 4
  • Are Economic Crises Inherent to Capitalist Evolution?
  • Are Spatial Planning Objectives Reflected in the Evolution of Urban Landscape Patterns?
  • Can Evolution and Creation Co-exist?
  • Can Evolution Ever Explain Why Men Rape?
  • Can Evolution Fit Into Christianity?
  • Did Climate Effect Human Evolution?
  • Did “Desert Storm” Represent a Revolution or Evolution in Air Power?
  • Does Evolution Make Reasoning Improve Learning?
  • Does Evolution Solve the Hold-up Problem?
  • Does Molecular and Structural Evolution Shape the Speedy Grass Stomata?
  • Ecological Rationality and Evolution: The Mind Works That Way?
  • Evolution Versus Creation: Does Biblical Religion Unravel the Mysteries That Science Forbids?
  • Host-Microbe Interactions as a Driver of Brain Evolution and Development?
  • How Does Bioarchaeology Reveal the Evolution of Disease?
  • How Do Body Plans Relate to Nervous System Evolution Biology?
  • How Did the Evolution of Oxygen-Releasing Photosynthesis?
  • How Did the Evolution of the Amniote Egg-Free Amniotes?
  • How Does Evolution Tune Biological Noise?
  • How Does Kin Selection Explain the Evolution of Altruism?
  • How Does Teilhard Justify Placing God Christ in Evolution?
  • How Does Transduction Contribute to the Rapid Evolution?
  • How Has Evolution Affected Our Lives Today?
  • How Did Evolution Transpire?
  • How Finding Yourself Comes Through the Evolution of Thought?
  • How Genetic Evolution Alters Brain Development?
  • How Has Mankind’s Perception of Evolution Impacted Society?
  • How Human Disease Impacted Our Evolution?
  • How Humans Became Athletes Through Evolution?
  • How Learning About Evolution Challenged My Religious Upbringing?
  • How Have Male and Female Gametophytes Changed During Evolution?
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IvyPanda. (2024, February 28). 505 Evolution Essay Topic Ideas & Examples.

"505 Evolution Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." IvyPanda , 28 Feb. 2024,

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IvyPanda . 2024. "505 Evolution Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." February 28, 2024.

1. IvyPanda . "505 Evolution Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." February 28, 2024.


IvyPanda . "505 Evolution Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." February 28, 2024.

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  1. 10 Evolutionary Psychology Examples (2024)

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  1. 50 Best Evolutionary Psychology Research Topics

    But we have a list of suggestions for you: Psychological impacts of food inequality. The evolutionary psychology of romantic relationships. Evolutionary psychology for partner choice and gender fluidity. The evolutionary psychology perspective on pandemics. The evolutionary psychology perspective on hunger.

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    Evolutionary Psychology. First published Fri Feb 8, 2008; substantive revision Tue Jan 30, 2024. Evolutionary psychology is one of many biologically informed approaches to the study of human behavior. Along with cognitive psychologists, evolutionary psychologists propose that much, if not all, of our behavior can be explained by appeal to ...

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    Evolutionary psychology would explain autism as a condition that results from delays in male maturation and acceleration in female maturation. Its aetiology can be explained by considering the influence of social structures, endocrinological differences, and neurological limitations (Lehman, 2009). In addition, autism could be explained by ...

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    Evolutionary psychology is a field of study, which explores the ways in which information and main beliefs from biology are applied in the understanding of the organization of the brain. However, it does not apply to the study of vision, reasoning, and the social action. We will write a custom essay on your topic. 812 writers online.

  8. Research topics at the Center for Evolutionary Psychology

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    Evolutionary psychology is the approach on human nature on the basis that human behavior is derived from biological factors and there are psychologists who claim that human behavior is not something one is born with but rather it is learned. According to Downes, S. M. (2010 fall edition) "Evolutionary psychology is one.